Unexpected Chef Nicholas Koh dishes up uniquely shaped choux pastries in his latest home-business

nicholas koh
Private dining chef and baking instructor Nicholas Koh, 44, calls himself ‘The Unexpected Chef’. 

I set up the interview with Nicholas Koh on the understanding that he would be serving up choux pastries and bonbons for his latest home-based business with Blockchef. 

Choux pastry and bonbons? Nothing quite unexpected what, I thought to myself. 

Nicholas acknowledges that while there are choux pastries in Singapore, the varieties here can be quite limited, and the same few big brands dominate the space. 

The same goes for chocolate bonbons, though there has been increased interest and varieties in this dessert in recent years. 

For those not in the know, chocolate bon bons are a French dessert, typically a small moulded chocolate ball with a non-chocolate filling. This can be anything from fruits to nuts. 

The former Masterchef Singapore Season 1 finalist tells us that he wanted to do something different. 

The result?

Nicholas Koh – The Unexpected Chef

Inspired by his Japan travels, Nicholas developed a Mount-Fuji-shaped Craquelin Choux Pastry, filled with flavours like matcha, hojicha (roasted green tea), vanilla and chocolate. Compared to regular choux pastries, a craquelin is sweeter and more crunchy.

Nicholas’ Mount Fuji choux pastry

He even dusts the choux pastry with icing sugar to mimic the snow-capped peak of the majestic Japanese peak. 

Now, if that wasn’t intriguing enough, Nicholas is also adding on a rectangular Dark Chocolate Bonbon filled with Raspberry Puree to his initial dessert offerings on Blockchef. 

Unconventionally shaped chocolate bonbon with a dark chocolate shell and a raspberry puree gel.

I don’t know about you, but the idea of a chocolate bar always excites me — what’s there not to love about more chocolate? 

Nicholas intends to sell his bonbons in boxes of six and twelve, with a mix of rotating flavours that will incorporate fillings such as ganache, fruit puree, feuilletine, praline, caramel, custard, and nuts.

Japanese desserts made accessible 

Nicholas tells us that after his Masterchef journey concluded, he was approached to teach at Little Bakers Lab through a friend. 

His classes tend to gravitate towards Japanese desserts because he is both a Japan aficionado (he visits the country two to three times a year), and he also realised that there was an opportunity for him to teach people how to make these intricate sweets.

During his Japan trips, Nicholas noticed that many Japanese desserts incorporate French techniques. He felt that local baking studios taught relatively mainstream desserts and saw a gap he could fill as a baking instructor. 

One needs to only take a look at his profile and Little Bakers Lab’s to see just what interesting desserts Nicholas brings to the table.

There’s Warabi Mochi (a chilled mochi-like dessert), Nama Chocolate (a chocolate ganache popularised by Royce Chocolate), galaxy-themed bonbons and even Hokkaido-style langue de chat or cat tongue cookies. 

In case the name puzzles you, these are the same type of cookies as the ever-popular, well-loved Shiroi Koibito — easily Japan’s number one cookie souvenir.

What you pay for is what you get 

Throughout the interview, it is clear Nicholas is a strong believer in providing value and quality in whatever he does.

He started cooking from a young age, assisting his grandmother and mother who owns a zi char stall.

He found himself in the corporate world as an adult, but he left his then-sales role in 2018 to join Masterchef Singapore to make an impact in the culinary world.

As a chef, Nicholas felt that he wanted to be an all-rounder and not just specialise in certain cuisines or courses and so he began honing his dessert-making skills. 

Nicholas’ Mt. Fuji choux pastry

Despite it being an initial foray into choux pastries and bonbons, Nicholas promises to bring the same dedication and quality into all his desserts.

He tells us: “I am not cutting any corners”, adding that he will price his items similarly to what you’ll get outside from other sellers, but with more premium ingredients. 

Give Nicholas’ sweet treats a go to see just what this difference in quality is all about — you won’t regret it.

To order, visit The Unexpected Chef on BlockChef now!

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