Sandisiwe Mbhele
Lifestyle Journalist
3 minute read
11 Mar 2021
11:16 am

Baking with love, young pastry chef Calum Matthys is no flop

Sandisiwe Mbhele

Calum Matthys is a pastry chef who is whipping up mouthwatering desserts that are getting recognised by top competitions.

Deconstructed lemon meringue. Picture: Supplied

At just 20 years old, Calum Matthys’s talent and skills are being recognised for his Ultimate Lancewood Dessert dish.

The runner up of the One&Only Reaching for Young Stars competition in the pastry chef of the year category for his  deconstructed lemon meringue is a noble step forward for Matthys. The previous year he didn’t make it into the competition.

The young pastry chef’s love of food and baking started in his teens, he enjoyed the subject of consumer studies and this reflected in his marks. He says he could see himself in the profession and his parents were supportive of his career path as a chef.

“From there I knew I wanted to do this, I love doing this, I see myself going far in this career.” His next stop was Capsicum Culinary Studio where he was assisted by lecturers and cooking reality shows.

Cooking shows such as Great British Bake Off, MasterChef franchise have popularised culinary careers.

Matthys isn’t any different, he loves Chopped on the Food Network and Sugar Rush Extra Sweet, Sugar High on Netflix, saying these shows inspired him to do better, adding what they bake is “out” of this world.

Young pastry chef Calum Matthys

Calum Matthys. Picture: Supplied

Looking up to Sugar Rush judges Adriano Zumbo and Candance Nelson, “the craftsmanship is absolutely amazing, down to every detail”.

ALSO READ: How SA chef Jean Delport’s restaurant won second Michelin Star

After finishing culinary school he enrolled at the IIE School of Hospitality & Service Management in Stellenbosch.

“They not only teach you business but also about the hospitality industry, what you can expect and challenges. I love hospitality, I enjoy meeting new people, discovering new cultures and tradition.”

He is using the learning experience and his studies to expand his desserts and one day open a café.

Matthys admits he was stressed about the effects of the pandemic, questioning whether he would have a career but that is in the past as he focuses on his growth.

How do you make a successful pastry? 

“If you don’t understand the science of pastry you’re not necessarily going to end up with a great product. Let’s say you are making cupcakes and you miss a step, your end product won’t come out as fluffy. Anybody can do it but you must understand the science.”

Matthys is still mastering techniques that go into making jaw-dropping desserts and one of his stumbling blocks is tempering chocolate.

“I have burnt chocolate, don’t ask how.” He explains that tempering chocolate in the microwave is a difficult technique but he won’t stop until he perfects it.

Calum’s baking tips:

  • Don’t forget to preheat the oven, then start
  • Over baking, as long as it is not burnt it still can be saved. Add sugar syrup, poke or create holes on top of the cupcake and brush sugar syrup on top, it will make it less dry.
  • Use room temperature ingredients unless specified in the recipe.
  • Use a stainless bowl or glass bowl for meringues and clean it with warm water.
  • Have patience, don’t open the oven every five minutes, the bake might not rise.
  • Take your cupcakes or muffins out of the pan after 5 minutes resting or you will be left with a soggy bottom.

With signature desserts including miniature lemon meringue pies, pastries with berry coulis and cupcakes, we can’t wait to visit his cafe’ one day.

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