Cannot believe its been 10 years for Tommy le Baker. I still remember the hard slogging days when all he had was a hole in the wall (literally). But what stood out was his passion for bread making, his tenacious approach to doing it right and his way. Even when those early days was tough, barely making ends meet .. he soldiered on. He had his small but growing group of supporters and friends, but small nonetheless. You have to swallow your tears when he said in an interview that he knew many of them were patrons just to support his venture. Last thing we want is pity but they are also laced with genuine empathy.
It was always going to be an uphill climb for Tommy. Malaysians are so used to eating "air" and sugar and preservatives ladened bread - they had to be soft and last for a week at least. But that's not real bread. Herein lies his integrity, he does not ever want to "lie" to get better sales for his craft. He could have gone the Lavender or Breadstory way easily and made money and open branches.
As an artiste (musician or baker), your goodwill and followers are slowly accumulated. True talent usually doesn't garner overnight recognition. Jason Axian featured Tommy in 2 magnificent episodes a few years back. It was heart warming yet gut wrenching to trace his journey. Surely Tommy would have had greater success earlier - but it is bread we are talking about, ... not satay, curry laksa or bkt. We are talking of serving a small proportion of the public, and at the same time trying to get the majority to try and realise what real bread tastes like (its vvvg by the way).
So, here I am today at his new place in Kg Attap. A much bigger shophouse. Thankfully he didn't go modern and swanky. Its an old shoplot with no renovation. Please keep it that way. Most of us came for the bread and pastries and sandwiches and coffee. Let's not invite the social media hunters with instagram uploads as their mantra.
Its packed, and be prepared to wait ... wait for tables, wait to order... its worth it. Just as the breads went through proper and long fermentation... we can wait, its not fast food, its slow food done with integrity and superb quality. We can wait ... we should wait... we must have long conversations over coffee. Proper food done slow, we all should slow down and enjoy ... and when you know more of his journey, tenacity and values ... you appreciate the whole thing a lot more.
The handwritten menu.. and everything else tells us a lot about the man and his values: it's me, integrity, passion .. all that you see ... it's me, unvarnished, warts and all, and I am that good.
Now he has a snazzy website that does delivery as well... check it, in particular should MCO be reimposed:
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