For a lot of us, a great slice of cheesecake is a guilty pleasure we happily indulge in, but sometimes we want something more than the classic New York Cheesecake.
This is where Cat & the Fiddle saves the day with its various Asian and locally-inspired cheesecake flavours, such as King Cat of the Mountain (Mao Shan Wang Durian) and Milo Dinosaur (cheesecake topped with Milo powder).
The culinary mastermind behind the delicious premium cakes is the award-winning Singaporean celebrity pastry chef Daniel Tay, who is trained in the art of classical French pastry and dessert-making. One could almost say that he is following in his father’s footsteps – the elder Tay once ran a popular confectionery shop in Marine Parade on the island republic beginning in the 1960s.
In an email interview, Tay said of his choice to become a pastry chef: “There was no decision to be made, it’s in my blood, I was born to a family of culinary chefs and grew up smelling bread. It was second nature to me.”
Today, with almost three decades of experience in the culinary arts, and nearly just as long in the business world, Tay is one of the most renowned figures in the luxury desserts industry in Singapore. In 1998, he founded Baker’s Inn (later named Bakerzin), which became the first bakery chain to sell French pastries in Singapore.
He later founded the state-of-the-art food solutions company Foodgnostic, which produces and sells cakes and pastries through Cat & the Fiddle and Old Seng Choong. While the latter focuses on traditional Chinese pastries, Cat & the Fiddle appeals to more modern, adventurous tastebuds. Tay said that he plans on opening 100 stores for the brand across Asia over the next three years.
Tay explained the origins of the brand’s quirky name. “Cat & the Fiddle is inspired by the famous nursery rhyme – Hey Diddle Diddle – which focuses on its whimsical take on cheesecakes,” he said. “We want to create a fun brand that consumers can relate to and associate with birthdays and celebrations.”
He added: “By focusing only on one key product, cheesecake, we can therefore ensure consistency and top quality in every cheesecake offering.”
With that said, Cat & the Fiddle’s cheesecakes are indeed to die for. The cheesecakes are also halal-certified by Majlis Ugama Islam Singapore (MUIS).
Not knowing which flavours to choose for ourselves, we were recommended to try the aptly-named Fickle Feline, which will please even the most fickle guest.
The Fickle Feline offers a selection of the ten best cheesecake flavours: Sicilian Wild Cats (Tiramisu), The Russian Whiskers (Mango), Madam’Roselle (Roselle Flower Tea), Paws of Fury (Yuan Yang/ Yin Yong), Over The Moon (Classic New York), Sweet and Smokey Taffy (Salted Caramel), Maneki Neko (Lemon Yuzu), The Modern Duke’s Pudding (Oreo Cookie), The Emperor’s Romance (Lychee) and Queen of Hearts (Strawberries).
The cakes arrived from Singapore in a neatly packaged box. I liked that they came with mini cards to indicate each cake flavour. This made sharing and choosing which cake to eat first easier, too. My colleagues and I enjoyed tasting as many flavours as we could, as the Fickle Feline is designed for sharing among friends.
No matter which cake I ate, I could taste the rich and creamy smooth cheese in each bite. Certain flavours, such as The Modern Duke’s Pudding (Oreo Cookie) and Russian Whiskers (Mango), come with a cookie base which gives a nice crunch and texture without the messy crumble.
And even after trying all ten flavours, it’s tough to choose only one to recommend, so you’ll just have to try them all. Fortunately, cheesecake lovers can have the cheesecakes delivered directly to their door by ordering online at www.catandthefiddle.com.my/cheesecakes.
What sweetens the deal is that a portion of each purchase of Cat & the Fiddle cheesecakes will be channelled to various worthy causes, such as the Cat Welfare Society, The Children’s Aid Society and to other organisations which aid the differently-abled.
Asked if he had any advice for other budding pastry chefs and bakers looking to become successful entrepreneurs, Tay said that it is important to remember that “being a chef is not about gaining fame, but creating joy for your consumers.”
And judging by delight my colleagues and I experienced as we tried our cheesecakes, he has certainly managed to do that.
This article first appeared in theSun iPaper HERE