Masterchef Asia's 2015 runner-up, Marcus Low, shares about his life, passions and latest venture, online store MadHatter Desserts.

Anna Lee  |  MY
Published 2016-09-19 14:28:06

When you first meet Marcus Low, you will find that he isn’t really a man with many words. Shy might be your first impression, but underneath the quiet front, he is actually a pretty chatty individual, especially when the topic at hand relates to his culinary creations. He is after all an accomplished chef and the man behind the imaginative e-bakery known as MadHatter Desserts.

The 25-year-old has always been inclined towards his artistic side. “I used to do a lot of magic tricks, and I also enjoy singing and playing the guitar,” shared the bespectacled lad with Vulcan Post.

However, Marcus also spent several years in the banking line. Considering how his passions lean towards the artistic side, the role of a banker perhaps did not gel too well with his personality. In fact, Marcus made a personal pact with himself.

He said, “I always knew I would end up being a cook and I told myself that I would get into it 5 years after being a banker. So my passion has always been there while being in a bank.” It was safe to say that his banking days were over when he landed a spot as a Masterchef Asia contestant in late 2015.

Learning From The Best

Image Credit: Hitz FM Twitter
Image Credit: Hitz FM Twitter

Masterchef is known to be a series which should never be watched with an empty stomach. The US version has made quite a name for itself, so much so that when the series was replicated for Asia, it became a hit in its own right.

Marcus spent 4 months competing on the show and wound up as the runner-up of the competition. “I have seen Masterchef US but I was always a bigger fan of Masterchef Australia! Masterchef taught me how a reality TV cooking show is made. There is a lot of filming done just for 1 hour of the TV programme,” Marcus quipped when we asked about his experience on the show.

His inspiration has always been to create new dishes and to showcase modern Malaysian cuisine in an interesting way. “My favourite dish (on the show) was the Modern Bubur Chacha dessert that was inspired by mum’s traditional bubur cha cha. It was something I’ve always dreamt of making but never had the chance to recreate,” Marcus spoke fondly about the dish.

All of the invaluable experience which Marcus cooked up on the programme finally led to his very own online dessert house—the MadHatter Desserts. “It feels great being the chef and entrepreneur because I am directly responsible for my own success and it feels great seeing the positive reviews of my cakes and that is rewarding,” said Marcus.

The Madhatter And His Desserts

Image Credit: MadHatter Desserts
Image Credit: MadHatter Desserts

The entirely self-taught cook and baker named his online dessert store based on inspiration he drew from the classic Lewis Carroll character: The Mad Hatter. Just like the character itself, Marcus’ creations could also be described as wacky, charming and whimsical.

Image Credit: MadHatter Desserts
Image Credit: MadHatter Desserts

“In many ways, my desserts have many wild flavour combinations and colours like the character. Not to mention, I am a man who wears a lot of hats hence the name Madhatter Desserts was born,” Marcus shared. His prized recipe? That would have to be the first ever modern dessert he has ever made: a chocolate, calamansi and hazelnut cake.

With a brick-and-mortar store in the works, Marcus certainly has his hands busy but he still draws satisfaction from his job. He enjoys creating Malaysian-inspired desserts and that can be seen through his repertoire of work, such as an egg-free durian creme brûlée. “Baking is so enjoyable because nothing beats pulling out a loaf of homemade bread or freshly baked brownie from the oven!” said Marcus.

Making Food A Living

Image Credit: Marcus Low Facebook page
Image Credit: Marcus Low Facebook page

Looking back now, Marcus has come a long way from his finance days, but he mentioned that the one thing which he had learned while being a banker which he actively applies today is that it is important to be cost efficient. His current aim is to be one of the best dessert establishments not just in his home country, but in all of Asia.

Desserts to him will always be important due to one reason. “A great dessert can overturn any bad meals before. I have had many instances where the savoury meals were not great but the desserts were stunning, saving the whole experience. So a dessert can be the saviour of the restaurant,” said Marcus.

Image Credit: Marcus Low Facebook page
Image Credit: Marcus Low Facebook page

Interestingly, his teacher once gave him a ‘D’ for his art creations, but looking at his imaginative desserts now, those days are far behind him. His advice to aspiring bakers out there is to keep going at it and to never stop learning because nothing beats passion and the dedication to the art of making great food.

Interestingly enough, with all of the experience he has been through, the one thing he would have told his younger self is: everything will fall into place and don’t worry about the future. With a sweet future ahead, it’s clear to see that Marcus’ words to his younger self could not ring more true.

Feature Image Credit: Star 2

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