Baker behind the patisseries: from MasterChef Singapore to F&B and fashion, Lifestyle News

We may know her as the 2018 MasterChef Singapore finalist and the baker behind popular donut shop Sourbombe Bakery, but Genevieve Lee prefers not to be pigeonholed as an F&B person.

With a myriad of interests that range from movies to fashion, the self-proclaimed “scammer” says she could go down many avenues in the future. We spoke to her about her here and now.

What was the best thing that came out of MasterChef Singapore for you?

All! My whole life has benefited from MasterChef. I’ve always been a huge MasterChef fangirl. Other people watched Dora the Explorer when they were kids; I watched MasterChef, Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay. I’m so for TV chefs. When MasterChef Asia came out, I was like, “Oh my god, I have to sign up!” But I wasn’t 17 yet, so I couldn’t register.

Then MasterChef Singapore started. I was in New Zealand for a family vacation and said to my dad, “Dad, they just opened MasterChef Singapore! I want to join!” And he was like, “Go ahead.”

Before I even got it, I told everyone that I signed up as if I had it. But I like to show off. When I want something to happen, I tell everyone to make sure it happens. After the show, my life turned 360 degrees.


One thing you should know about me is that I’m a scammer. Ever since I was 16, I’d been knocking on doors and asking in cafes, like, “Hey, do you want to store my cakes?” I would bake a cake, I would cut it into portions, I would give it to coffee shops and I would say, “Try it. If you like it, you can contact me here. If you don’t like it, throw it away. .”

So that was a stark difference. Before the show, I was hustling, making people recognize me. After the show, people came to me and asked me to do collaborations, events and hosting.

So it was very different. I’m really happy to have been able to do MasterChef and to have gone as far as I did. He gave me everything I needed to propel my career forward.

How did you know you wanted to become a baker?

I had spent time in the hot kitchen studying at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Singapore. I always knew I loved baking, but I considered it a hobby. I thought I would find my cooking career hot, but I realized that the pressure is very high and it is very hot.

The heat is there physically and mentally. I found myself burnt out even though I was just starting out in the industry and realized that something is wrong if I feel like that when I haven’t even fully invested myself. home after work or on my days off. I found it very peaceful.

When did you decide this would become your business?

When the Covid-19 arrived, what it taught me was to be more open-minded about your path and that e-commerce is easier for patisseries and bakeries because it is more easy to carry.

These were difficult times and we had to make the best of the situation. So, I baked a lot – cakes, bread and donuts – and sent them to my friends to see what they thought I could sell online.

A friend of mine, CR, who is my business partner now, tried it. He has a very commercial mind. Once he tried my bomboloni he was like, “Oh my god, do you want to do business together?” And I thought you knew what? Why not?

Why donuts instead of saying, cakes or bread?

The most direct answer is that it’s more lucrative. You can sell large quantities. And it is easily accepted by everyone. Even if someone doesn’t like bread or sourdough, they’d probably like donuts. It’s a very mass market.

What was the biggest difference between going from a home-based business to a business venture?

The biggest difference is overhead. Brick and mortar stores really aren’t easy. I have known this since I was young because my father owns a restaurant business.

He maintained it for 40 years. I saw all the ups and downs, and I was scared to jump in. But I’m glad I took the plunge because I learned a lot. It’s not just about the business, but about personal goals and having difficult conversations. But it pushes me to push myself and be open to anything.

Certainly no regrets.

Your bomboloni comes in some really interesting flavors. Where does your inspiration come from?

I like food. I eat out a lot, I love going to restaurants and I read a lot of food blogs. Sometimes my friends with wacky taste buds ask me, “Do you think this and that would go together?”

And I would never say no. I would say, let me try and I’ll tell you. My willingness to experiment opened the doors to many flavors. We make mistakes, of course. But when they work, I feel so happy!

What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t a baker?

I feel like I’m typecast as an F&B person because I have other interests as well. I think I’m passionate about everything I do and I’m interested in everything. If I wasn’t in F&B, I think I’d be in film.

I’m the kind of person who watches a movie, then dissects it and talks about it, and goes crazy about it. I like the art of cinema. And I love fashion. So maybe I would be a fashion designer too and have my own brand. It has always been my dream.

Do you intend to start one?

I get a sketchbook and imagine what I would like to have in my own brand. My boyfriend said to me, “Start small, draw, create an Instagram account. You never know, someone might take it.”

I’ve always been a big dreamer, so I’ll give it a try.

ALSO READ: ‘It’s too early to choose’: MasterChef Singapore winner Johnathan Chew could still pursue a career in dentistry

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