Being a chef had always been Pang Kok Keong’s childhood ambition, but he never expected to go into pastry-making. Hoping to “learn the ropes”, he started out as a kitchen helper in coffee shops during his secondary school days. Back then, his ideas of pastries were confined to pandan chiffon cakes and coconut buns from the neighbourhood bakery. Then came a chance internship in the pastry kitchen of the now-defunct Oberoi Imperial Hotel, where Pang was placed because it was short-handed. There, he picked up skills in creating sweet offerings such as chocolates and desserts. Today, he helms French patisserie-inspired Antoinette and Western bistro Pique Nique. Both come under his Sugar Daddy Group of restaurants, which was set up in 2010. Despite winning accolades such as the Pastry Chef of the Year award thrice at the World Gourmet Summit, Pang remains down-to-earth. “I appreciate the recognition, but the greatest acknowledgement is [having a loyal customer] who has been ordering cakes from me for the past 10 years,” he says.