Charins Chang’s Meticulous Mess

Charins Chang, the new Head Pastry Chef at Union Group, describes her style as a beautiful mess, while paying close attention to every dish’s elements. She sat down with FoodieS to share the inspiration behind her creations.

The first time Charins baked a cake happened when she was in high school. Her friend challenged her to bake brownies, sparking a passion for pastry craft. She then started to read blogs and books about baking.

However, as a college student she decided to study biotechnology in Sydney and worked as a biochemist for a German company in Singapore. But the passion remained; she continued baking to the point where she decided to sell her cakes because there were too many of them.

Her cakes brought all the customers to the yard, and then it hit her that she must choose between her job or the baking business.

She then went to France to attend Ecole Nationale Supérieure de la Pâtisserie pastry school and had the chance to do an internship in Monistrol with one of the best pastry chefs in France, Bruno Montcoudiol.

After leveling up in pastry skills and knowledge, she returned to Jakarta in 2016 and started selling her creations online through as well as supplying dishes to a distinguished cafes and restaurant.

She also took on a role as a consultant for various restaurants in Jakarta and Yangoon. If you happen to be in Yangoon, visit Rangoon Tea House and be sure to taste Charins’ creation Paluda.

Earlier this year, Union Group asked for Charins’ hand in collaboration.

“Union called me and said they were looking for a pastry chef and had a few tasting sessions. I said yes. The reason I wanted to work with them is because Union is very relaxed about cakes and that suits me. They also have a casual feel.”

At Benedict, Charins is tasked with creating a series of cakes that are eye catching and interesting, yet familiar and comforting. She came up with different cakes which cover a wide range of flavors.

“These creations are based on what I like. I imagined myself sitting in a cafe, deciding what to have and these are all the cakes I would have on my plate.”

With that in mind, she came up with several exciting cakes, including a series of cakes made from local tropical fruits such as PMS (passion fruit, mango and strawberry), Key Lime Pie, Banana Cake and Granny’s Old Fashioned Apple Pie.

PMS has bright colors that will catch your attention right away, and has a light texture but not in a buttery or creamy sense. The Key Lime Pie uses two different kinds of citrus—lime and sweet oranges from Medan. It combines the sourness, the fragrance and the sweetness of the fruits. She uses the lime for the curd and sweet orange for the jelly cubes which are stuffed between the tart to give a different texture.

“I went to the wet market and tried all the oranges they had. I like the taste of these oranges and limes and I decided to use them. I was also specifically asked to make Key Lime Pie.”

And then there are two twists on classic cakes namely Banana Cake and Granny’s Old Fashioned Apple Pie. Using the freshest ingredients, Charins added nuts and cheesecake frosting to cover the top of the banana cake. For the apple pie, Charins made use of her chemist diligence to create the perfect crumble and texture of the pie.

So what are you waiting for?

Grand Indonesia East Mall LG
Jalan M.H. Thamrin No.1, Menteng, Jakarta
T: +62 21 23581238
Facebook: benedictjakarta
Instagram: @benedictjakarta

Written by Tatu Hutami Photographs by Yosua Yanuard July 30, 2017.