Today we’d like to introduce you to Steven Cheung.
Hi Steven, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
As a kid, I would visit my dad when he worked at one of the top dim sum restaurants in the Bay Area, Yank Sing. I would enter the back and was always greeted with a smile from all the aunties and uncles working there. My dad would always bring a few broken or non-sellable items back home so that my brothers and I could try them. One day, as he peeled the crust off a Dan Tat (“Hong Kong style egg tart”), I curiously asked him why. He told me it was because there were too much crust and fat. Years later, I graduated culinary school and was working at my new pastry job when I had the urge to recreate the dan tat pastry. After many failed attempts, I moved on to other desserts. It wasn’t until last year after I was let go from my executive pastry chef position due to the pandemic when I had the extra time to revisit the pastry. With more experience, I was able to troubleshoot and create a unique shortbread-crusted Dan Tat. After getting my dad’s approval, I moved toward a new exciting direction. I realized almost no bakeries had different flavored Dan Tats, so I began to infuse and play around with complementary flavors that balanced well with the egg flavor and tenderness of the crust. Fast forward through a couple of months of trial and error with balancing texture and flavor; I was left with several new collections of Dan Tat that I was truly proud of. I began to travel back and forth from SF to LA every other month, reaching customers who had signed up for my waitlist months in advance. It has been an incredibly rewarding experience and I’m looking forward to all the sweet things yet to come.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
One of the biggest challenges I had to deal with was building a customer base. Not everyone has the same taste bud. Some people like the flakey crust, some like cookie crust. My crust is a hybrid of the two. A crust that flakes when eaten but will melt and crumble. I think the most important thing is making a product that I love. The Dan Tat was meant to be made for my dad. I wanted him to enjoy something where he didn’t have to peel off.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
My shortbread crusted flavored dan tat are my signature item. I have over 15 different flavors. My most popular is an Almond Egg White Tart with 23k gold and Durian Dan Tat made with two different types of durian. My other popular items are flavored Canele such as black sesame, matcha, hojicha and ube.
I am currently in San Francisco and fully booked until the end of the year, but I will definitely be back in Los Angeles and will be taking orders again.