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WILL GOLDFARB'S MAIN AIM IN LIFE is to sweeten it for people. Literally and figuratively. The first part is clear cut. He's one of the top pastry chefs in the world, running the acclaimed Room4Dessert in the idyllic tropical getaway of Ubud, Bali. He's worked with top chefs from Ferran Adria to Tetsuya Wakuda, had his own Netflix TV special and has people from around the world lining up (at least pre-Covid) for his 21-course dining/dessert experience.
The other part is less tangible, and is about giving a hand to people, and picking them up when they're down.
With Covid-19 dealing a heavy blow to those whose livelihoods depended on tourism, Chef Goldfarb and his team wanted to help. They started cooking for an orphanage and senior-citizen community, as well as other at-risk groups facing hunger as government funding was cut because of the economic crash.
"Now is the time to focus on those less fortunate than us, and it has been really rewarding to contribute in a meaningful way," says Chef Goldfarb.
IMPACT OF COVID-19
While restaurants around the world have taken a beating because of the pandemic, Chef Goldfarb considers himself pretty fortunate that Room4Dessert is still on a strong footing. "First of all, we have been super lucky that we are still here talking about it," he says. "It has definitely been the greatest challenge of my career."
He adds, "Bali's hospitality economy generally depends on tourism, so if there are no tourists, then it is pretty hard to operate. However, over the years we have developed a loyal local clientele which has served us well. Especially lately, as our guests from Jakarta have had the chance to visit with us. It has forced us to be creative and try to deliver things in new ways. The future is now, and bright!"
ROOM4DESSERT IN SINGAPORE
Chef Goldfarb is a culinary ambassador of Sub-Zero and Wolf, which appoints a chef in every country to represent its brand. Besides Bali, he also represents Sub-Zero and Wolf in Singapore – good news for cake lovers who have been enjoying some of his creations through Baked By Wolf, the brand's online patisserie that Chef Goldfarb oversees. The cakes, macarons and pastries are adapted from his acclaimed cookbook, aptly titled Room for Dessert.
Says Chef Goldfarb, "In this 75th anniversary year for Sub-Zero and Wolf, we wanted to do something special. Baked By Wolf is a chance to share our recipes and collaborate with a wonderful young pastry chef, Tony Pangetsu. He handles the baking and pastry and I do my best to support with tips and guidance. We will happily move the culinary direction of Baked by Wolf in a collaborative fashion."
As for his relationship with the brand, "I have been a long-time fan of Sub-Zero and Wolf, and their long-time collaborator in Southeast Asia and beyond," he says. "Their attention to detail and precision in cooking are two of the qualities that I admire most in Sub-Zero and Wolf products.
As a pastry chef, I depend on these more than anything. At the same time, there is a lot to like about a small family business that has remained at the top of the game over the past century. I like to know where my ingredients and tools come from, as well as the people who make them."
Chef Goldfarb is constantly developing new recipes, but how does he know when he's perfected one? "It's hard to know when we've nailed it, but we have refined our test process to at least a point where we're happy. But the ultimate test is with our guests."
In the run up to Christmas, the chef is looking forward to spending precious time with his family. But he remains dedicated to sweetening the lives of others – living deliciously but also with empathy. He says, "The most important thing has been getting food to hungry people. I am confident that in the future, we will be able to do even more for those in need."
To order from Baked By Wolf, go to bakedbywolf.com. Sub-Zero and Wolf is also giving away 10 copies of Will Goldfarb’s cookbook Room for Dessert. To get your complimentary copy, please write in to email@example.com
The House of Sub-Zero and Wolf is located at 31 McNair Road, Townerville, Singapore 328529. Tel: 6386 9335. Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm. Saturdays by appointment only.