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The pavlova specialist

FARAH Azrooein Ghazali looks so sweet, just like her delicious desserts, but don’t underestimate her – inside, she is one tough cookie. Farah can whip up a perfect pavlova from her kitchen and also conquer Mount Tahan.

Farah started an online business, Pleasure Pastry (@pleasurepastry) at the age of 19 where she sells various desserts, including her best-selling, melt-in-the-mouth pavlova (a meringue dessert named after the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova), burnt cheesecake and chocolate brownies.

“I just love making wedding cakes. Each wedding is special to me,” said Farah, who has a Diploma in Patisserie from Berjaya University College.

The 25-year-old is also passionate about hiking, as it teaches her to have inner strength, and helps her conquer her fears, as well.

What inspired you to become a dessert chef?

“While I was still in school, I started watching Italian chef Laura Vitale on YouTube, and loved every second of it. Then, I started to follow more bakers on Instagram, such as Manuela Kjeilen, Amaury Guichon and Rustam Kungurov.

“At first, I started baking for my family and friends. Their happy faces when they ate my desserts made me so happy, hence, the tagline for Pleasure Pastry is ‘Bake Someone Happy’.”

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What is your favourite part of making any dessert?

“My favourite part of making any dessert is the end-product. I love seeing my final product, especially when it turns out exactly how I imagined it in my mind.”

What is your signature dessert?

“I wouldn’t say it is my signature dessert, as it is known and many people can make it – the difference is that I use premium ingredients and the correct techniques – and that is the pavlova. My best-sellers are pavlova, brownies and burnt cheesecake.

“I create bite-size pavlovas as I realised Malaysians love to eat bite-size desserts. My pavlova has a crispy texture on the outside and a marshmallowy texture on the inside. Due to the size, a lot of my customers tell me that they can’t resist eating it.

“I make pavlovas in different sizes and flavours, using berries and local fruits. Besides that, I also make brownie towers and decorate it with fresh flowers. That is my signature style.”

What motivated you to start your online business?

“There is one quote: ‘Choose a job you love, then you’ll never have to work a day in your life.’

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“After I obtained my SPM results, I got an offer to continue my studies in accounting, but it was not what I want to do for the rest of my life. I knew I would get tired of it, one day. So, I chose to do something that I love doing, which led me to baking.

“I want to inspire others as well. I want them to know that baking gives you pleasure. I work closely with my customers and sometimes, they will end up becoming my friends, too. Apart from taking orders for my online business, I conduct workshops or classes, as well.”

What do you love about hiking?

“I love to go for a hike because I get to conquer my fears and increase my strength. I have been to Mount Raung, Gunung Tahan, Lata Medang, Lata Macau, Bukit Senaling and I am planning to go to Kota Kinabalu [this month].

“All the places I have been have given me different memories and challenges! I get to see how important nature is to us people.

“Also, hiking with my husband and friends has been so much fun. It’s a different feeling compared to going on a holiday.

“Climbing to the peak gives me a feeling of satisfaction. While hiking, I would go deeper within myself to focus on my inner thoughts.

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“Every trail is challenging, but during my trip to Gunung Raung, we hiked up while it was raining. The trail was super steep, and it made the hike super hard. My bag was getting heavier and the trail was slippery. I barely made it to the camp site, but that is where the challenge lay.”

What are your future plans?

“I love teaching. I love to see someone succeed in their life. In the future, I hope I can have my own baking academy, where I get to teach others to bake cakes or desserts with the right techniques.”

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