What do you get when you combine a fine-dining pastry chef with a background in industrial and graphic design with the uncertainty of COVID-19 lockdowns?
In the case of local JC Lua, you get Formulab! It’s a newly launched online business specialising in experimental dessert flavours.
The professional dessert chef puts his creativity to the test at The Boat House, but he’s always dreamt of owning his own business.
“It all started from a goal and dream of mine as a dessert chef to have my own dessert-only restaurant or business someday. Ultimately, I wish to open a dessert fine dining restaurant here in Canberra, so I thought, why not start from something small?
“Then Formulab came into my mind as an online platform for me to practice, or to start off as a new business learner. Meanwhile, I can expose myself to the Canberra public and show them what I can do and offer.”
Seeing the rapid lockdowns and the effects on the hospitality, JC quickly accelerated his plans for launching Formulab to futureproof his income.
“I literally officially started Formulab a few weeks ago,” JC said.
“The whole reason why I decided to open now is because of the pandemic and the COVID-19 situation here in Australia. We don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. We might go into lockdown anytime from now, so I thought if I could start an online dessert business where I bake and sell online through social media, I could at least make some extra income during the lockdown.”
Formulab is tempting sweet tooths with a weekly special released on Mondays through their Facebook page and Facebook Marketplace. Specials have so far been a sell-out and have included a creamy Tiramisu, along with a gorgeous five-layer Blackberry Chocolate gateaux and a Tim Tam S’mores Cookie. Prices start at $8 a piece.
A takeaway dessert menu is already in the pipeline with The Boat House so customers will be able to order a curated selection through their website.
After ogling the beautiful photos on their Instagram page, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the creamy Tiramisu.
The slices were one-part art, one-part cake, glistening and elegantly put together. The experimental twist JC added to this well-loved classic was poached pears. I nodded enthusiastically as he told me about the addition but really, I wasn’t convinced fruit belonged in Tiramisu … until that is I had my first bite. Perfectly portioned small pieces of the pear were still crisp and added a surprising and highly enjoyable texture to the very creamy layers.
Formulab is proving that fine dining is adaptable with the times and can be portable, sweet and affordable.