The Outstanding, Yet Humble Chef

Despite of his outstanding achievements, Otto Tay, one of Malaysia’s most talented young chef stays humble.

Chef Tay Chee Siang, also known as Otto Tay, is currently one of the most influential lecturer chefs in the Academy of Pastry Art Malaysia. I know him as one of the most talented young chefs in Malaysia. Despite his outstanding achievements in his young age, he stays humble. In fact, Otto was very generous in sharing experiences as well as sharing constructive tricks and criticisms for his students.

Throughout his career, Otto has some remarkable achievements. In 2015, Otto represented Malaysia in Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie 2015 where Malaysia was ranked 4th from 21 participating countries. He also has his own lists of personal achievements such as the Best Plated Dessert Award in Asia Pastry Cup 2014, Most Outstanding Young Pastry Chef in Malaysia, for 2012 and 2013, Most Outstanding Chocolate Showpiece of Culinary Malaysia FHM 2011 Malaysia Cup, and numerous bronze to gold medals from both national and international competitions. Otto Tay shares his story, perspective and his hobby exclusively for Passion Media.

What’s your background that made you go into this pastry business?
When I was in the kindergarten, every morning I was waiting an Indian guy driving a motorcycle and selling the bun. I really love to eat his Pandan Kaya Butter Cream Bun. Because of this, I want to become a baker, so bad.

Did anybody else influence your career?
I think the most influential person to me in many ways was my mother. She knows that I love to eat bun more than rice, that’s why she encouraged me to learn pastry.

What is your favorite thing to do?

I love brainstorming with all pastry friends, developing new skills and new products.

What is your most favorite tools in the kitchen?

Every tool is important for me but if you want a specific one, I’d say Bamix Hand Blender. It always gives me the smooth texture that other hand mixers can not achieve.

Are there some big-name chefs who become role models in your career, or at least affect your job?

Chef Jess, my first Chef in my career, without him, there will be no Otto. He is my mentor.

Are there any great things that you want to do in the near future?

In the modern world, machines play important roles, such as thermoform, 3d printer, and many more to come. They might replace human skills, but the machines still need the imagination, creation, art sense, and creativity from the chefs.

Do you have other hobbies that many people do not know, other than what you do now?
This is the funny part, actually I am DOTA player (Defense of The Ancient, online PC game). Sometimes, when I got too stressed out, I will go play DOTA with my brother. That’s the only time I temporary forget about the whole pastry stuffs.

What are your predictions for this year's trend in the pastry business?

In my opinion, trend is something that’s unpredictable. Anything can be trend in a sudden, it depends on how much passion and effort you’re putting in and if there are people who are amazed by your work, you are actually making your own trend.

What advice and tips can you give especially the younger generation?
In my opinion, attitude is important than skills. Keep in mind, always be humble.