轉不停的陀螺生活 轉出自己的路|小食糖

當融入台灣原生味道,希望每一個人更認識台灣這片土地的味道,也讓自己保持工作的多樣性。

轉不停的陀螺生活 轉出自己的路

若要說走入甜點這條路,現在回想也是十幾年前的事,在當時似乎是自願也非自願進入這領域,從小家中的環境就跟阿嬤、姊姊同住,高一那年因為考量家裡的經濟狀況,無法單靠姊姊支持家裡與自己的生活,選擇休學進入工作生涯,這一路上也幾乎不敢休息、不敢玩耍,因為自己就是自己的後盾。

只有很努力 才有走下去的可能

現在的小食糖雖然是精緻甜點為主,但一開始進入烘焙業是在台灣傳統糕點店學習,多數製作的產品也都是傳統祭祀所需的糕點,工作一年半很快就接到兵單,當兵後回到彰化開始進入好香屋、向陽房、麥仕佳、小熊菓子…等烘焙坊學習,當時什麼都不會,就從最初階的學徒做起,經歷幾年的磨練,在向陽房已經是有一群工作夥伴,能一起製作蛋糕、裝置蛋糕,也會為了參加比賽與夥伴討論、研發、不斷改良製作,這期間還遇上母親節的檔期,沒日沒夜四天製作3200個蛋糕,一路上的生活就是上班、下班不斷輪轉。

就是這樣不敢懈怠,到了2010年(大約25、26歲)當時在好香屋認識的同事,自己出來創業,也就邀請我擔任小熊菓子主廚一職,那時的我欣然接受他的邀約,但也開始輾轉難眠的日子,當時為了嚴守店內蛋糕的品質,凡是當日製作的蛋糕無法售出,也就只有往垃圾桶去的路,初期創業也無法與周邊老店抗衡,因此,雖然身為主廚但責任與壓力卻是學徒時期的好幾倍,那段時間除了在店內研發產品,只要有非營業時間就往台北上課、往各地店家吃甜點、閱讀食譜、收集甜點知識,在那段時間還為了研發馬卡龍,就吃了上萬元的馬卡龍;但就是這樣的磨練,讓自己做出自己喜歡,也被客人認可的蛋糕捲、馬卡龍…等甜點,店內的營運也走上軌,自己才也認可。

用十年的功夫 擁抱自己想做的事

有人曾問我,開店這件事是從小的夢想嗎?當然不,在當時17歲的年紀三餐溫飽是工作的意義,但開始進入麵包店當起學徒,心裡也默默萌生擁有一家店的想像,工作上一路上從單一店、連鎖店、中央廚房、企業型甜點部門…等領域擔任甜點師傅,從對甜點的零知識到研發產品、成本控管,面對各類型的烘焙店,有些對品質的刁鑽、有些專業的分工、當然也有些以營利成本為基準…等,這些既是磨練也是不斷思索自己心中的甜點工作,因此在結束台北甜點工作後,也停下一段時間讓自己好好再次思索,自己真正想做的事。

把自己想吃、想做的給客人

常有人問我為什麼會選擇在忠權社區開店,初衷的原因「我就是彰化人」,當初在找開店的位置,除了彰化,台南也是我嚮往生活的地方,當地人對文化、環境的尊重、小店街區的蓬勃發展,這樣在彰化沒有的氛圍,倒也成為我留在彰化的原因,有沒有可能在彰化開店,讓彰化也有所不同。

剛開始在找尋店面空間,也曾經前站、後站繞來繞去,而這現在這位置是朋友突然間看到分享給我,原先這是一處多年無人使用的舊倉庫,磚造的屋舍、頂上是鐵皮,空間雖然狹小但當時就一眼看中他了;店內陳設是以甜點工作室為主,一樓為工作與外帶區、二樓延伸的空間為室內用餐區,環境保留磚造的牆面也呈現台灣傳統家屋的感受,在施工上也為了節省花費木工、粉刷都由自己來,冰箱、展示櫃還不少是同業送的,就這樣兩個月的時間,小食糖就在2016年12月開幕了。

用台灣在地食材 說台式甜點

長時間一直處於工作狀態的自己,在工作倦怠後停下腳步,思索自己與工作的關係,「開店」是一種跳脫長期受雇於老闆的工作型態。但更重要的是,希望能從研發、製成、銷售都能有自己更彈性的想法,因此甜點的研發上,以台灣食材融入甜點,例如:店內甜點「嫣紅 紅茶蘋果慕斯」就以台灣原生山紅茶製作紅茶慕斯、再包覆熬煮的台灣蘋果與紫羅蘭奶醬;而另一款「檸檬芭芭」則是將台灣芭樂融入甜點;這些做法仍是以法式甜點重視的層次為感受,融入台灣原生味道,希望每一個人更認識台灣這片土地的味道,也讓自己保持工作的多樣性。

因為走過 就希望走的更有力量

過去的生活,沒有遺忘或回頭的路,成長的環境曾經與姐姐僅靠著八塊錢果腹,一包王子麵加上便利超商關東煮湯,這就是「回憶」,而走到現在生活安定了點,賺大錢也不是生活必備,反倒希望透過自己的雙手,傳遞給更多年輕的孩子,生存的方式、生活的可能。

A realization of vision after years of working relentlessly

Interviewee/ Owner of Little Sugar Interviewer and Editor/ Daniella

It has been over ten years since I stepped into the world of desserts half voluntarily. Growing up with my grandmother and elder sister with limited financial support, I decided to drop out of school and started working. Throughout my career, I never considered taking some time off, because I am my own prop.

Dedicated effort is the only key to sustainability

Though Little Sugar features exquisite desserts, I first started out my career in a traditional Taiwanese pastry shop making pastries mostly for religious offerings. A year and a half later, I went to fulfill the national military service, and came back to Changhua to work in a number of bakeries. Since my knowledge in the field was very limited, I first started out as an apprentice. After years of practice and training, I was part of a team that baked, decorated cakes and even designed cakes for competitions. During the time, I remembered that we baked 3,200 cakes consecutively in four days for
Mother’s Day. As you can see, my life was all about work.

I continued to work relentlessly until in 2010, a colleague of the bakery I was working in started up his own business, and invited me to join his new team at Bear Bakery. I accepted his offer with pleasure, but was under immense pressure. To ensure quality, cakes unsold within a day they were made were destined to go to waste. Also, during the startup phase, we hardly survived the competition with renowned stores in the neighborhood. All in all, the pressure on me was so much more intense than when I was an apprentice. When I was not working on developing new desserts, I also dedicated
considerable time to take courses in Taipei, taste desserts all over Taiwan, study recipes, and acquire all sorts of dessert related knowledge. I remember there was a period of time I was trying to make macarons, so I ended up spending over NT$ 10,000 tasting different macarons. It sounds like a hassle, but it was the endeavor that enabled me to make desserts that now received customer recognition, and further supported the startup business.

It took me ten years to realize what I wanted to do

I was once asked whether opening a store was a dream that dates back to my childhood. Of course not. At the age of 17, I worked to make ends meet. It was not until I started working in bakeries that I started picturing a store of my own in the future. Throughout numerous job experiences, I had worked as a pastry chef in independent stores, chain stores, central kitchen, dessert section in a franchise, etc. I started out with zero knowledge in the field, and progressed to acquire know-hows in product development, cost control and many other aspects. Some stores place emphasis on quality, some on professional division of work, and of course some are very profit-driven.

Having engaged in a wide variety of business models, I was constantly searching for the right fit that speaks to my heart. Hence, after I left Taipei, I put my life on pause for a while to carefully ponder on what I really wanted to do.

Serving customers with what I love

I am frequently asked why I chose to open my store in Zhongchuan Community. My reason is simply “because I am from Changhua”. Other than Changhua, I did consider Tainan when I was looking for a location. However, I thought the friendly environment in Tainan is what Changhua lacks. Hence, I decided to stay and explore possibilities in bringing changes to Changhua.

I was looking around for places nearby the train station. At the time, a friend told me about this unused old warehouse built with red bricks and iron-sheet roof. Though it isn’t spacious, I decided that this was it at first sight. I planned the first floor as a dessert studio where I make desserts and serve take-out orders. The second floor is an indoor dining area featuring the coziness of a Taiwanese-style red-brick house. I saved up expenses for carpentry and painting by doing all the work myself. Also, most of the equipments were gifts from acquaintances in the industry. Within two months, Little Sugar opened for business in December 2016.

Making Taiwanese dessert using local ingredients

Becoming a store owner as opposed to working relentlessly as an employee makes me think of my relationship with the work I do. I am now able to incorporate my ideas with much flexibility in developing, making and selling desserts. Hence, I started introducing Taiwanese ingredients in my desserts. For instance, our Black Tea Apple Mousse is made with Taiwanese back tea, Taiwanese apple and violet creme. Lemon Guava, another signature dessert, features Taiwanese guava. Though my technique is still largely French-based which emphasizes layers, the infusion of Taiwanese flavors is intended to introduce the original flavors of Taiwan to more people. On a side note, the experimental collaborations add diversity to what I do.

Hardships in the past makes me stronger

I have not forgotten my past, nor am I going back. I used to have to live on eight dollars with my elder sister, sharing a pack of instant noodles and free soup from convenient stores. This is my so-called memories. Now that my life is more stable, I don’t consider making a fortune a necessity. I’d rather be conveying possibilities of making a living to young people.

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