Feature Friday: Macaron Baker Natalie Wong

Happy Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.05.05!

 
image1This week we are featuring Natalie Wong! We love macarons and Natalie makes such unique ones! Natalie is attending university while running her own business at the same time. We know how crazy the workload can be at school, so it’s a pretty amazing feat to be doing both simultaneously. Just goes to show that if you are passionate about something you’ll find the time to pursue it. It’s also a great idea if you want to get a foothold in the industry you plan on entering after school. Running your own business looks pretty impressive on a resume! Read on to learn more about Natalie and her macarons!

Castle Logo: Introduce yourself and tell us what you’re all about!

975ef1_adf8c6ca3faadd6b7afdc14de303bc8c.jpg_srz_p_960_269_75_22_0.50_1.20_0: Hello everyone, my name is Natalie Wong and I am a macaron artist and baker from Oakland, California. I am currently twenty-one and I go to San Francisco State University hopefully it’s my second to last year of college. I’m studying management so that one day I can manage and run cafes and shops in multiple locations. I love baking and I always have, I also introduce my artistic background in my macarons like character themed ones. I try to make my desserts aesthetically pleasing as well as delicious, made with only natural flavors and real ingredients.

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Castle Logo: How did Macarons by Natalie get started?

975ef1_adf8c6ca3faadd6b7afdc14de303bc8c.jpg_srz_p_960_269_75_22_0.50_1.20_0: Macarons by Natalie started because people actually wanted me to start selling them. I made my first batch of Macarons in 2012 after I tried my first one at a bakery called Miette. I thought that I could make them better with more unique flavors, so I looked up a recipe online and tried it out. I was giving them out to my friends for free and I posted them on Instagram, and I got a huge response from friends and people I didn’t even know asking to purchase them! So I thought “why not?”

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Castle Logo: Have you always baked (have a culinary background) or was it something you got into later in life?

975ef1_adf8c6ca3faadd6b7afdc14de303bc8c.jpg_srz_p_960_269_75_22_0.50_1.20_0: I’ve always been baking, probably since the moment I discovered Pillsbury cookie dough. I used to bake homemade cookies after I found out how easy it was to make. I made them for Santa, my friends and my family and they’ve always been a big hit. I’ve always just been intrigued by sweets and it makes me so happy to bake for people and see them enjoy it.

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Castle Logo: People are pretty intimidated by making macarons for themselves. Is it hard to make them?

975ef1_adf8c6ca3faadd6b7afdc14de303bc8c.jpg_srz_p_960_269_75_22_0.50_1.20_0: Macarons really are a kind of art form. You just have to have the right recipe and right technique and it’ll work out. Of course it did take me awhile to figure out the right recipe and technique; using several recipes and constantly researching. I probably stayed up late wondering why my Macarons were cracking or were hollow. I kept searching google trying to find the answers and eventually it worked! So yes I would say they’re hard to make but once you get the technique down then it’s easy.

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Castle Logo: You have a lot of unique macaron flavors. Name a few of the number one crowd pleasers.

975ef1_adf8c6ca3faadd6b7afdc14de303bc8c.jpg_srz_p_960_269_75_22_0.50_1.20_0: I have over 30 flavors, sort of like how Baskin Robbins has 31 flavors. I have unique flavors like mint chip, strawberry cheesecake, peach cobbler, tiramisu and Thai tea. Of course the original flavors are there too, like pistachio, raspberry, vanilla bean, and chocolate. You gotta cater to everyone in this business. A few fan favorites are pistachio, Thai tea, strawberry cheesecake, earl grey, cookies and cream, and tiramisu.

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Castle Logo: How do you come up with your flavors?

975ef1_adf8c6ca3faadd6b7afdc14de303bc8c.jpg_srz_p_960_269_75_22_0.50_1.20_0: I come up with my flavors from just my favorite desserts or foods. Like tiramisu, I just used mascarpone and made it into a buttercream and added coffee into the shell for that coffee creamy flavor, and dusted with cocoa powder for that effect. I think, hmm what flavor would be cool and yummy in a macaron? And then I just experiment. It’s fun to experiment with new flavors and of course to taste them!

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Castle Logo: You also have some pretty amazing macaron designs. Do you have a favorite?

975ef1_adf8c6ca3faadd6b7afdc14de303bc8c.jpg_srz_p_960_269_75_22_0.50_1.20_0: Thanks, I have a couple favorites! I like the Totoro Macarons, minions and the Kawaii tiggers. Some are better than others haha but minions and totoro are the easiest and cutest to make.

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Castle Logo: You take orders for all sorts of occasions. What are some of the challenges of this and what are the rewards?

975ef1_adf8c6ca3faadd6b7afdc14de303bc8c.jpg_srz_p_960_269_75_22_0.50_1.20_0: Yes it’s definitely rewarding to take orders for any occasion. I’ve done a few wedding orders and I am always doing birthday, baby shower and bridal shower orders. They certainly make me the most money! It’s challenging when someone wants 25 dozen Macarons when I only have a small oven. But once I finish those orders, I can say I did it!

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Castle Logo: What are your future goals for Macarons by Natalie?

975ef1_adf8c6ca3faadd6b7afdc14de303bc8c.jpg_srz_p_960_269_75_22_0.50_1.20_0: My future goals for Macarons by Natalie is of course to open a bakery cafe! I hope to get tons of followers and loyal customers that will make my job a dream come true. I just want to make people happy with my desserts. I want to call it Camellia or Blossom because those flowers have significant meaning to me. Camellia is green tea and I plan to have tea there as well, and blossom is significant because I have cherry blossoms tattooed on my back, and my middle name is Flora, my grandmothers name. But ultimately I’ll be serving up delicious and beautiful food, that’s for sure! So keep a lookout for me in the future.

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Castle Logo: Any advice?

975ef1_adf8c6ca3faadd6b7afdc14de303bc8c.jpg_srz_p_960_269_75_22_0.50_1.20_0: Advice I would give to up and coming bakers would be to never give up! Keep trying new recipes and put your heart and soul into baking. People can tell when you have a huge passion for it, and they will reward you. I didn’t even think of starting my own business when I entered college, but my talents just paved the way for me. Everyone’s support is definitely a motivation for me. Go for your dreams! Even if you shoot for the moon, you may end up with stars. But if you don’t even try then you’ll never know.


4 comments

  1. Very interesting & informative article, happy that NATALIE has found a passion& is following her dream. More power & good luck to her !!

  2. That’s awesome that you girls interviewed Natalie! I have been following her blog and instagram for a while. She is so talented!

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