Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
A quote that came to mind the first time I met the 2 owners of Wondertales – Nur Deana Amran and Ahmad Hanif Sunarya. Graduates from Sunrice Academy, these two young talented minds have carved a path of their own fuelled with talent and above all, passion. This passion is effortlessly translated into the beautiful decadent pieces of desserts laid carefully in the glass showcase in their store along Telok Kurau Road. Each one more beautiful than the next.
The inspiration behind its name – Wondertales - came from the desire to create something different – something out of the ordinary – just like their Entremets and artisan pastries, which we don’t get in the market today – ‘halal-wise’.
“Wondertales came from the word Wonderland – as in Alice in Wonderland. We wanted to create a sort of fairy tale like story,” said Hanif.
“Our desserts aren’t your usual sponge cake and pastry – it’s something different. I mean, yes you can get such desserts in the market but they usually aren’t halal – as they are made with pork or beef gelatine. We wanted to bring such desserts to our community to be able to enjoy,” added Deana. “Going along the lines of fairy tales, we thought we would give our desserts fairy tale like names like Love Potion but customers wouldn’t know what that meant or what’s inside them so we diverted slightly from the initial fairy tale concept and carved out a more high-end look that encapsulates the type of desserts we offer,” she continued.
Deana was right. It is not common to see such desserts that are halal. Yes, you can get the usual sponge cakes, chocolate cakes, desserts, etc. But you hardly see such quality, high-end, decadent pieces that are in fact halal. That being said, we were curious to find out how the response has been to something unique as Wondertales.
“The response has been good so far. People have been curious about our desserts. After all, it’s not common to see these that are halal. But with that, we have come across people who are averse to try. Moreover, some feel it’s a bit pricey,” said Deana.
“But we do let them know that it’s truly because we use high quality ingredients that are imported from countries like Brazil and Italy. We use only the best quality chocolate and you will notice that we also have edible flowers and edible gold dust,” Hanif explains further.
“Many around the area here are health conscious as well and were concerned if these were too sweet. We have also been asked if we can make an eggless cake. These are good feedback to us because as a new business, we listen to our customers and it pushes us to try new recipes to cater to the customers’ needs,” Deana mentioned.
Starting a new venture is always risky business but it’s always inspiring to see our community and our youth active in acknowledging a gap in the market and taking positive action to provide our community with a solution. We have met many who have started ventures to give back to the community and it’s admirable and heart-warming to see that we, as a community, don’t sit on our laurels. That we are steadfast in maintaining that “kampung spirit” of elevating our community.
“After graduation we worked in the industry but we ended up working long hours with mediocre pay. So, we quit our jobs to follow our dream to start something of our own. We saved and used our savings to start Wondertales together. Needless to say, our parents were concerned but this was something we really wanted to do and bring to our community,” Deana said with pride.
“For me, I actually was from a completely different industry but I couldn’t really find opportunities there so I made this career change and enrolled in Sunrice. I used to help my mom with her baking and I had always enjoyed it. Plus, I love drawing and creating things with my hands so I thought why not create or design something that people can eat. It was a complete change. And I really really enjoyed it,” explains Hanif.
At one glance, you wouldn’t peg him to be the one creating these delicate designs. But as I sat across from them, the passion they had rang through.
The enjoyment and passion they each have is evident in their desserts especially in the shaping of the Chocolate Pralines and adding the finishing touches of each dessert - every little detail counts and it all stems from passion and pride in their work.
“We want our customers to walk away feeling good about their purchase – that they are buying something of quality not just in terms of taste but also in terms of 'design',” said Deana.
And to be perfectly honest, I think they have accomplished that with the presentation of their desserts, their store and their packaging. But the desserts on display aren’t the only things they offer.
“We also have cookies now that you can buy here. We do take in orders for cakes like birthday cakes or wedding cakes. We also do dessert tables for events. In the future, Insya’Allah, we would like to open a café where we will offer coffee and tea while you enjoy the desserts. Right now, we’re a take-away place but we would like to grow into something like a high-end café that is halal. Insya’Allah. For now, we are focusing on our trials in the kitchen to offer more variety of desserts,” Deana says with a smile.
Creating your own path is challenging, scary and in today’s context, pretty risky. But with support, Insya’Allah our young Malay/Muslim entrepreneurs can navigate through these waters. You can support Wondertales by making a trip down to their store at East Coast Road (address below) – and if you’re there, try the Chocolate Praline, my personal favourite and their best seller. If you don’t have much of sweet tooth, then try the Lemon Meringue, another personal favourite. I might head down myself to get another dose of Wondertales. See you there!
308 Telok Kurau Road, #01-07, Singapore 423858
Tuesday-Friday: 1130am-9.30 pm
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