JOHOR BARU: Chef Ryan Loh Chu Seng’s passion for making elaborately-crafted cakes has earned him a royal following.
Loh (pic) first got the chance to bake for the Johor royal family three years ago when a customer approached the bakery where he works for a birthday cake as a gift for Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar.
Loh made a cake shaped like the state’s map complete with the Johor flag and he was caught off guard the next day when a photo of the Sultan admiring the cake went viral on Facebook.
Last year, the bakery started receiving orders for cakes to be presented to the Sultan, including 3D-cakes modelled after the Ruler’s Mack truck, a train on railway tracks, and an airplane resembling the Ruler’s gold Boeing 737 aircraft.
Loh recalled feeling very nervous when presenting the Mack truck cake to Sultan Ibrahim.
“I was pleasantly surprised at his friendly demeanour as he smiled and asked me whether I made the cake myself. After we took some photos together with the cake, he turned to me and told me to share the photos on Facebook,” Loh told The Star yesterday.
Loh’s talent also caught the attention of Johor princess Tunku Tun Aminah when he made a four-tiered cake in royal blue, white and gold colours with a moulded tiara on top for her birthday in April.
In his latest feat, Loh crafted a cake that stood at 1.8m and weighed 40kg for Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail’s birthday recently. It took him a week to prepare and about 20 hours to craft the cake.
When the order came in, he said that the customer gave him the flexibility to create any design so Loh decided to make a football-themed cake in appreciation of Tunku Ismail’s outstanding leadership in the state’s football team, Johor Darul Tazim (JDT).
To commemorate JDT’s achievement as the first Malaysian team to win the AFC Cup last season, Loh completed the cake with a trophy on top and a life-sized gold-coloured football on the side and a crest bearing the letters TMJ (Tunku Mahkota Johor) that lights up.
“It was worth all the sleepless nights to see my cakes being appreciated by the royal family,” he said.
He added that he was glad that he persevered when his application to join the bakery was rejected three times and he finally called up one of the bakers, who is now his mentor, to ask for a chance to learn from him and even offered to work for free.
After getting better at his craft, his employer Chu Liong Siong rewarded Loh with his own design department after he clinched the title at the Cake Challenge Malaysia, which was the first competition he took part in.
“My ultimate dream is to design and bake a cake for Taiwanese star Jay Chou who is my inspiration, he said.