Hello Christoph and Wyatt. Firstly, tell us a bit about yourselves and how did you guys meet?
We met a few years back first via Facebook and then in the gym. After working out together for some time, we become good friends. During that time, we also did lots of baking for friends and family, working with different sugar substitutes always with the goal to make a dessert look and taste like a dessert but without the calories and guilt. Wyatt is more of a baker, while Christoph is more the cook, a good combination. Wyatt wanted to take this a step further and did a Pastry Chef course at At-Sunrice, Singapore.
There are two very attractive components that makeup Duxton 41; both very pleasing to our senses. Please tell our readers what I mean by this.
A dessert should be appealing to the eye and to the pallet. This is always our goal whenever we create anything new. So, we need to please two senses; one is the eye the other is the taste. If you don’t succeed in both, the customer will be disappointed. That’s why we spend a lot of time doing R&D.
What is also an appealing part of our café is interior design. With the help of a French interior designer and the hard work of our architect and contractor, we created an oasis of peace and calm. It is mainly black, however, we have colours coming from our Thai silk and from our desserts; each creation is very colourful by itself.
In a time where most everyone is in the pursuit of perfection in terms of physicality and strive for better health, your cafe could not have come at a better time. What inspired you?
The inspiration to take this step and open a café and bar was mainly driven by our friends. We know that F&B is a very tough day-to-day job with long hours and not much rest in between, however, the encouragement from our friends and later, customers is really inspiring and it helps us to push further. It was always our goal to make healthy desserts for everybody. Therefore we also have different options like vegan, gluten free or dairy free.
Surely there are lots of trials when it comes to putting together a cake, which tastes so good yet kind on the waist too. How long does it typically take for you to come up with a recipe?
This is hard to say it can take from 1-3 trials to dozens of trials where we almost give up. Sometimes the trick to making it work comes after you put it away for a few days and then pick it back up. We document everything so that we can make also existing recipes better. We take customer feedbacks and new different ingredients into consideration. We believe that a recipe is never finished.
If we talk about branding, what have your strategies been?
For a start, we engaged a branding team (Piquant) to help us with the logo and basic design like boxes and business cards. For us, it has always been important to be as environmentally friendly as much as possible. Therefore we don’t have a single use of plastic and even our take-out boxes are from cardboard. As we have only started 6 months ago, we also didn’t have had much time to spend on thinking of the branding to be very honest. We are trying to build up the brand now slowly by keeping consistent with our core, which is creating healthy desserts which are sugar-free.
How important is a personal touch in your business?
We believe it is very important especially in the starting phase. We also want our business to run like we intend it to be. Therefore, one of us is present at the café at all time.
If it is indeed important (referring to the previous question), how do you ensure your customers experience it?
It is very important; firstly, by creating healthy and enjoyable desserts. Secondly, by creating an experience for our customers; for example, we paired all our wine and champagne with our desserts for an ultimate taste experience. Finally, by actively interacting with our customers. We engage in conversation to see what brought them to our place and to see what they like and what they think can be improved.
It is also very important to keep innovating and to create new products. For example, end of last year we launched the first Sugar-Free High Tea with unique Singapore specialities like the kueh lapis but of course, sugar-and-guilt- free. For Chinese New Year, we created sugar-free pineapple tarts, all homemade starting with fresh pineapple until it’s rolled into perfection. We were overwhelmed by orders and even had to stop taking new ones, to be able to fulfil them all. This of course also gives us energy and drives us further as we see there is a big demand for healthier desserts and snacks.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to open a specialty café like yours’?
It’s a very tough job, long hours; you need to be aware of that. Also, it can be that you have days with no to little customers and of course, you start to question yourself. That said I would not want to discourage anybody to open a specialty café as we did. But you should have a passion beyond just normal passion and also a clear vision; just don’t open a cafe or bar because its “sounds like fun”.
Any expansion plans beyond Singapore?
At the moment we have no expansion plans. We want to build up our brand and see what the future brings. For us, every day is already exciting.
Where can our readers go to indulge in your heavenly bakes?
We are located at 41 Duxton Road, Singapore 089505. It’s in a unique heritage part of Singapore with beautiful shophouses. The whole Duxton Road and the shop houses are beautiful to look at, take-in and have a little breather from the bustling city, actually just one street over.
Any last words, Christoph and Wyatt?
By now you know that Duxton 41 is not your normal café. We want to create an experience for your senses; guilt and sugar-free desserts which look and taste like a normal dessert. Our coffee and tea-blends are supplied by a social enterprise. Though not a big range, we also do serve wine and champagne.
All are created with one goal; to please your senses. We look forward to welcoming you, hopefully soon, at Duxton 41 so that you can enjoy and relax.