Clarice Lam of The Chocolate Room starts her online pastry business The Baking Bean

21 Mar

What does the executive chef of a Brooklyn dessert hotspot do with her free time?

Bake, of course.

Clarice Lam, who runs the kitchen at The Chocolate Room, is starting a new side venture, The Baking Bean, an online pastry business bringing custom cakes and monthly desserts straight to your door.

She’ll also be competing in the second season of wedding cake guru Ron Ben-Israel’s Food Network show “Sweet Genius,” working with — no surprise here — chocolate.

Titled “Dancing Genius,” one of the segments on the March 22 episode has chefs creating cocoa confections with cookies and cheese after watching a live ballet performance.

“I wanted to challenge myself in a new way and that’s exactly what I got,” says Lam. “It was definitely a lot harder than I had anticipated. Every single element is unexpected and timed, and of course, there are the cameras.”

Not that Lam is one to do things slowly.

In the two years since she completed the pastry arts program at the French Culinary Institute, the former model has risen from intern at Locande Verde to pastry assistant at Spice Market and most recently, head chef at The Chocolate Room’s Court St. and Fifth Ave. locations.

Even on her day off, Lam is busy ordering ingredients and consulting with her baking staff.

Now, she’ll also be taking orders for one-of-a-kind desserts.

The Baking Bean — a nickname that comes from her likeness to English children’s book character Clarice Bean — gives Lam the opportunity to work with

the sweets that inspired her to pursue a culinary degree in the first place.

“When I lived in Paris, I noticed patisseries all over the place and I was so enchanted by the delicious pastries.”

“Although chocolate is very beautiful, there are only so many shades that you can color chocolate. I like playing around with other mediums. I love things that pop and I want things to look like little pieces of art.”

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Using her background in art and fashion, Lam’s latest creation, a blueberry and cream cheese gateau St. Honore, fuses the customary French cake with modern design: a pastel purple crocodile print.

“I’m taking an old French tradition, but making it whimsical. I really like making cakes and putting little twists on everything and using different flavors that I’ve acquired throughout my travels.”

Seasonal flavors are also the focus of her monthly dessert club. Currently priced at $100 for its inaugural month, members will get sweets delivered once a week starting in mid-April.

Each of the four categories — baked items (such as cookies, brownies and biscuits), cakes and tarts, ice cream and chocolate confections — will have three options for members to choose from.

“Being able to taste everything from all over the place really inspires how I cook and how I bake,” says Lam. “It comes fairly natural to me to put certain flavors together.”

Although she’s used to bouncing from place to place — her modeling career has taken the Toronto native to over 280 cities — Lam is happy to call the Big Apple home.

And with the little time off she has, Lam is slowly tasting her way through some of the city’s top dessert destinations, including La Maison du Chocolat and Wylie Dufresne’s molecular gastronomy eatery WD-50.

“I’m going on my third year in New York and it’s the longest time I’ve stayed anywhere besides my hometown. Maybe New York is a magical city. It’s brought me luck so far.”

Source: New York Daily News

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One Response to “Clarice Lam of The Chocolate Room starts her online pastry business The Baking Bean”


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