Kitchen stories: Love, death and croissants: the morning pastry chef whose gluttony conquered everything


His body still bears many scars, and so does his family. “My mother is afraid for me all the time I am outside. Sometimes she stays up late at night waiting for me to come home,” he said.

But, not bouncing back from the debilitating crash was never an option. “Playing football at Anglo-Chinese Junior College, as well as my time in the military, taught me, ‘Do shit. Don’t give up,'” he said.

Prior to the accident, he had arranged to work at the André restaurant upon his return. “The whole time I was in the hospital, (chef Andre Chiang) was constantly sending me emails saying, ‘How are you?’ He didn’t need to do that. I was nobody to him, you know…. I finally found the courage to tell him, “My hand is like this – I don’t think I can work for you anymore. said, ‘Don’t worry. Come back to the kitchen. We still have jobs for you.

Eventually, with the support of his bosses and using his diminished ability as motivation, Matin returned to the top of his game.

“It just made me want to be at least on par with my peers. I can’t chop as fast as you, but maybe I make macarons faster than you. Working in restaurants teaches you that competitiveness, because working in reputable places means most chefs have some sort of standard. And that friendly competition, which makes you want to be better than the person next to you, helps,” he said.

“THE SWEET TOOTH takes precedence over everything”

If Matin was a pastry, it would be a pain au chocolat. First of all, it’s one of his favorites – he makes a version so amped up on the chocolate that anyone who’s ever eaten one in which the chocolate sticks didn’t fill the entire batter from end to end sighed in collective relief.


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