PETALING JAYA: Not too long ago, Stephanie Wong used to spend her days high up in the skies bringing smiles to her many Malindo Air passengers.
These days however, she has traded the iconic white kebaya and purple sarong uniform for a rustic grey apron, as she continues to bring smiles to many people on the ground through her Basque burnt cheesecakes.
As sweet as it sounds, her classic Spanish dessert only found fame with customers after the 25-year-old was retrenched in November 2020 due the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It was my dream job and I didn’t see it coming,” shrugged Wong , who was a flight attendant for two and a half years before receiving her heartbreaking retrenchment notice.
“We were originally asked to go on unpaid leave, which was then extended to six months. Over time, many cabin crew and pilots were retrenched,” she sighed woefully, adding that she served on her last flight in August 2020.
With the help of her older sister, a former baker herself, Wong poured all her energy into perfecting her burnt cheesecake recipe into what it is today — a deeply caramelised top and a melt-in-your-mouth centre which is light on the palette.
To achieve this, she had to make sure that the texture and type of cream cheese used was spot on. And to get the perfect creaminess, she had to experiment with different types of cheeses.
“My friends and family were my test subjects until I was delighted with the composition of the cake,” she chuckled, noting that she had already begun experimenting during her unpaid leave.
In fact, her loved ones were the first customers of Offline The Baking Chic, an online business she launched last July to promote her sinful offerings.
“The name stems from my experiences as a cabin crew; once we complete months of training, each of us are considered an ‘online’ crew, which means we are ready to fly. So, due to my retrenchment, I have gone ‘offline’,” explained Wong.
As her burnt cheesecake grew in popularity among customers last year, requests began rolling in for other flavours which sparked an idea.
“A whole six-inch burnt cheesecake feeds up to four people. So, I decided to create a mini burnt cheesecake box so customers could enjoy different flavours with one order,” grinned Wong.
Aside from her best-selling classic burnt cheesecake, Wong currently serves six other flavours — dark chocolate, coffee, matcha, durian, Lotus Biscoff, and Hojicha.
“The durian burnt cheesecake is a huge favourite since it has generous amounts of fresh durian pulp. The Lotus Biscoff is also a big hit because of its balanced sweet-and-savoury ratio and of course, the dark chocolate burnt cheesecake is another favourite.”
While Wong prepares all the cakes on her own, she is still assisted by her partner who manages Offline The Baking Chic’s social media platforms.
At present, Wong is in the midst of preparing graze boxes that reflect her love and passion for cheese.
Each box contains a selection of cheeses such as gouda, brie and cheddar, as well as a selection of fresh fruit, nuts, artisan crackers, raspberry preserves, and chocolates.
If you’re looking to add a little bubbly to cheer up your lockdown days, you can also request for a bottle of wine or soju. Each box also comes in three different sizes – small, medium and party.
Despite being content dabbling with her yummy offerings, Wong remains unsure if she would take up the call to soar again as a flight attendant, if ever she was presented with the opportunity.
“Perhaps I will make up my mind when the day comes. For now, I am grateful for the amazing support from my family and friends,” said Wong while flashing her gorgeous, heart-winning smile.