|Chef Kamal, Head Baker of Bread Lounge, GTower|
Interview with Chef Kamal, Head Baker of Bread Lounge, GTower
How did you get into the industry?
While I was a phlegmatic student majoring in 3D animations as per my father’s wish, I found my passion for food when vending for my mum’s stall at Padang Kota Lama, which specialized in Penang’s delicacies. I soon ventured into baking and started my career as a cook in one of the 5 star hotels in Pahang.
What's the best part of your job?
I would definitely say the best part of my job is the satisfaction that I gain from the products that I produce which have no added preservatives assuring the healthier living of my consumers. I also like that my goods are baked fresh daily!
What's the worst kitchen disaster you've seen?
An incident happened while I was working as a demi bakery chef in one of the 5 star hotels in KL. A trolley stacked with 800 chocolate ice cream cakes collapsed, which my team and I had prepared for an event to commence in less than two hours. With time against us, four commis bakers and I prepared a luscious bread pudding and magnificently served it just in time for dessert.
What’s something you would like guests to know about Bread Lounge?
Loaves that we served in Bread Lounge are fresh and high-quality. Ingredients we use are always fresh and certified Halal. In order to conserve the traditional exquisite taste of bread, all the grain and flour we use are especially imported from Germany. We offer a voluminous selection of traditional Italian-German bread, pizza-tortilla and fusion dishes, which are only available in Bread Lounge.
Tell us the way you choose your suppliers.
The essential qualification that my supplier should possess is that their products must be certified Halal by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) and that they are able to cater to our needs without jeopardizing the quality and freshness of the products.
What do you do to ensure the quality of bread served to customers?
I constantly pass my skills to my associates indirectly “duplicating” myself to achieve and ensure the same standard of bread quality. Every product that leaves the bakery will undergo a thorough quality check before being put out for consumption.
What do you do to stay educated about new trends?
Creativity is essential to a baker. For instance, Japanese Sweet Bun is proof of a baker’s creativity. Online research is the preferred way to keep myself updated as food review websites and blogs are a great resource for me to find out what consumers are saying about the newest trends. I visit local bakery shops regularly to look for inspiration and to stay in line with new trends.
Who was the most influential person in your career?
I would say that Celebrity Chef Johnny Fua is the most influential person in my career. He has inspired me with his effective team management style. I also learned to achieve perfection without compromising on quality by making the recipe from scratch, and marketing the product inclusive cost management.
Tell us about your management style.
Our bakery is often referred to as an effective and efficient unit. The bakery comprises a skillful and happy team and I strongly believe that a positive working environment is the essential substance to getting the job done well. This is made possible by being an open-minded and approachable leader. I always make time to listen and empathize with my staff before offering them a credible solution.