SWEETS and treats from Mauritius can be hard to come by in Melbourne, but The Whisktakers look to change that. Tam Tran caught up with the three-person team to talk about Mauritian pastries and how these former international students began their humble home business.
Mauritius is known for its beautiful beaches, lagoons and reefs, but did you know that Mauritian desserts are just as hard to resist?
With its fusion of tropical ingredients, such as pineapples, bananas and papayas, Mauritian pastries are generally out of reach here in Melbourne. Noticing this gap in the desserts market, three former Mauritian international students saw a unique opportunity ahead of them.
Collectively known as The Whisktakers, a play on the term ‘risk takers’, their home-based catering business was formed in 2015 upon graduation. All three met during their time as undergraduates at Monash University and quickly realised they wanted a career consisting of more than just long hours of paperwork at the office.
Head baker Tracy Chang graduated with a Bachelor of Accounting and Finance but held previous experience as a pastry chef at a Mauritian institution. Managing Director Chin Chue’s Bachelor in Biomedical Science has helped bring scientific solutions to the team’s creations and also has made sure food safety in the kitchen is maintained. And Gavin Chang, the Business Development Manager assists by growing the home-based business.
“Everyone’s bringing something [different] to the table,” Chin said. “If I were to do this alone? Impossible!”
Gavin elaborated further, adding that “both Chin and Tracy share a real passion for baking and cooking”.
“They would spend hours and hours everyday making different kinds of cakes and sweets for friends and family events,” Gavin said.
With treats ranging from banana pies and shortbread to eclairs and quiches, The Whisktakers’ products have won the hearts of its many customers. But in promoting the exquisite tastes of Mauritius to Melbourne, there were indeed adversities for the three graduates when they first started their business.
The hardest part of the job, according to the bakers, was finding the right ingredients for their products; ingredients that weren’t always available in grocery stores. Moreover, extensive research and sampling was involved in order to create the best result that all three could agree stayed true to the Mauritian essence.
But with big risk comes big reward and for The Whisktakers’ head baker, Tracy, starting this business with her friends was a no-brainer.
“I have been baking for half of my life and after I graduated, I realised that no office job would ever appeal to me. Baking brings me solace,” Tracy expressed.
Chin and Gavin echoed Tracy’s sentiment and although they haven’t been baking for as long as Tracy, they too have found the experience to be rewarding.
“You get to work alongside awesome partners and do something that you love everyday. Also, [you] get to be creative and eat lots of cakes,” Chin said.
“I’m still amazed at the fact that we were able to build a business out of a hobby that we all share,” Chin added.
Although their business is in a solid place at the moment, expansion is always on the mind for The Whisktakers; just like any other business.
“In the near future, we would like to open our own pastry shop and café in Melbourne which would make it easier for the public to access Mauritian and French pastry” Tracy said.
“We would [also] like to expand our menu; we are always reviewing our target market and trying new creations,” Chin added.
On advice for international students wishing to take risks like they have by start up their own business in a foreign country, The Whisktakers advise students to simply chase their dreams.
“Find something that you enjoy doing and go for it, then you will enjoy it for life,” Chin said.
“Australia offers so many opportunities, much more than what we [would have had] in Mauritius. It’s a country where if you dare to dream big, you can definitely work towards achieving it,” Gavin expressed.
The Whisktakers is a home business creating and delivering Mauritian desserts to customers around Melbourne. For more details, visit their official website where you can get a further look at their menu.