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Sweet Success

Carolyn Jung | June 18, 2018 | Food & Drink Story Eat and Drink National

Anthony Tam was a supply chain manager at a Fremont tech firm when he embarked simultaneously on his own startup—waking up in the wee hours to handcraft one exacting piece at a time. His focus wasn’t hardware, but rather software of a decidedly delicate nature. Hunched over a stovetop at 3am, he would ladle batter into pans, flipping out ethereal crepes, one right after the other, before slathering them with cream fillings and stacking them a majestic 20 layers high.

Self-financed just over two years ago, his crepe cakes business grew so successful through word of mouth and social media that he quit tech shortly afterward. Now, with a team that operates out of a Milpitas commercial kitchen, his Anton SV P√Ętisserie turns out handmade $88 crepe cakes that have been ordered by Facebook, HP and PayPal, as well as local Tiffany’s stores that serve them at private client appointments.

The 7 1⁄2-inch cakes are available whole by special order in inventive flavors such as matcha, made with imported Japanese ceremonial green tea; and tiramisu that features ground espresso beans in the crepe batter and real rum in the filling—or by the $10 slice at six cafes in the South Bay and San Francisco. A $228 custom crepe cake, stacked with more than twice the usual number of crepes and adorned elaborately with fresh flowers and macarons, has proven popular for weddings.

“I couldn’t find a really good dessert to eat in the Bay Area,” explains Tam, of San Jose, who grew up in Malaysia. “They are too sweet, like eating sugar. I like things to be balanced.” That’s what prompted his switch from tech to treats. It’s not that surprising, given that his parents owned bakeries and bistros in Asia for more than 30 years, and his older brother, who taught him the dessert skills, makes wholesale crepe cakes in Singapore and Malaysia.

Tam’s cakes are surprisingly light in texture. They are marvels of engineering too, as each layer must be placed precisely level or else the cake will end up lopsided. His vanilla crepe cake tastes like the best vanilla ice cream. His best-selling Hokkaido Milk, made with cream imported from the Japanese island revered for its dairy products, is dusted with activated charcoal to create its distinctive ebony exterior. “I let the product speak for itself,” Tam says. “My personal belief is that if you make something good, people will come find you.”

Originally published in the June issue of Silicon Valley

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