DFC: Meet Helwakeda
"It's very therapeutic for me to bake. That was my outlet to relieve my stress, tension, everything.”
If French pastries are your thing, you’ve certainly already encountered the choux pastry - a light, egg and flour-based delicacy that’s as versatile as it is delicious.
Recently, these treats are becoming more and more popular in Singapore. We’ve seen more shops selling these choux pastries, and it’s no wonder why - these boms are small yet hugely addictive!
If you’re into this creamy and delicate pastry, look no further than this local online pastry brand - Helwakeda, helmed by 24-year-old Sheikh Abdurrazzaq.
“At first I wanted to specialise in tarts and pies. But pies for me were very troublesome to make. Then there’s this one time I was scrolling on YouTube and suddenly a lot of choux videos popped out. And I thought, this is very aesthetically and visually pleasing. So I tried boms and buns at East Village and I really liked it, so I tried to make it myself and I gave it to people. And they liked it, so I started selling. So that’s how Helwakeda started.”
While the name might be a tongue-twister to those unfamiliar with the Arabic language, the name simply means ‘this is sweet’.
“Helwakeda is an Arabic or Egyptian slang which basically translates to, in Malay, ini benda baik ah. So like, anything that we see that we like, it doesn’t necessarily mean it must be a food, anything at all. So I'm trying to say that my bakes are good!”
But the journey to perfecting his recipes took a few long months of research and development for Sheikh. Prior to starting Helwakeda in early 2021, Sheikh’s culinary journey in Shatec was cut short when he realised that path was not one that he was keen to continue in.
“When I entered Shatex as per my brother’s recommendation, I was actually from a culinary course, but I preferred the baking course - which I actually regretted. I should have entered the baking course. But I received a baking book from school so I did some reading and tried different recipes and that started it.
At first I started with only Cream Cheese choux, which took me around two months just to perfect the flavour, not the pastry yet. Then I started R&D on other flavours, and just recently, I discovered that my choux gets soggy over time. So I asked around some of my classmates - some of my pastry chefs - then they told me that I needed to reduce the amount of milk and increase the amount of water. So I did some fixing and some finalising on the ingredients and recipe and I achieved the results that I wanted.”
Like many, many success stories out there, the road to success is often marred by many failures and persistence. For Sheikh, this is one quality that he knows he possesses - the ability to never give up. For instance his first ever baking experience in 2016 - making meringues - was a steep learning experience, where he spent a lot of money but the outcome was not satisfactory.
But now however, Sheikh has perfected four choux recipes that he can safely say he is happy with.
“Currently, I’m selling four different flavours. The first one is S'mores, which includes the milk chocolate chantilly and swiss meringue on top, and I blow torched it with a little bit of crumbs to mimic the smores texture and flavour. Another one is Vanilla Choux - it’s just a vanilla pastry cream. Another one is Strawberry Cream Cheese, which includes strawberry cream cheese chantilly and also involves fruits. The last one is the Salted Caramel with Mint Chocolate, which is the best-seller because the saltiness and the mintiness of the filling compliments each other, it’s well-balanced.”
Sheikh hopes to open his own bakery soon - perhaps by the end of 2023 - where he plans to have at least seven different choux flavours for his customers to choose from.
Our team wishes only the best for Helwakeda’s future. We had the absolute pleasure of being able to taste Helwakeda’s delectable and addictive choux, and the firm favourite was the Salted Caramel with Mint Chocolate - which we thoroughly recommend you to try!
Don’t miss out on Helwakeda’s weekly pre-orders by giving them a follow on their instagram @helwakeda. Hurry, because we heard their slots get filled up super fast!
Be sure to tune in to our latest episode of Dine for Charity to learn more about Helwakeda!