Sep 21, 2006|
My mother always told me I’d be doing F&B, so I decided to be a pharmacist instead.
I came out to Macau as a pharmacist after seeing an advertisement in a newspaper. The money was excellent - with $16,000 a month, I was quite well off.
I’ve been in Macau for 27 years next week.
There was no decent bread, so I started importing whole-wheat flour from England, and sold it to local bakeries.
Baking is like pharmacy. There’s a recipe, an oven temperature, you stick to the formula and you can do it. I keep telling my staff, “The salt goes in at this particular point for a reason. Don’t mess around with it, and it’ll be fine.”
I started the business in 1989. It coincided with the economic boom. The banks were starting to lend money for cars, and people were starting to buy them. It helped. The bakery was on the island of Coloane, and people started to drive out to us on the weekend.
The egg tarts were just another product. I spent a long time refining them.
I’ve bastardized the traditional recipe completely. I was very careful to tell the Portuguese in Macau that these aren’t their traditional egg tarts.
Everyone calls them Portuguese egg tarts, but I’ve never sold them as that. It’s always been “Andrew’s egg tarts” or “Lord Stow’s egg tarts.”
Otherwise it’s like eating a pork pie and finding beef in it.
You should see the poster of me in Osaka. It’s about 30 feet tall. It’s embarrassing.
I never eat traditional egg tarts because I never go to a Chinese restaurant for dessert. I prefer mine frozen. If you eat them cold from the refrigerator, then they’re even sweeter.
We sell about 2,000 egg tarts a day. 5,000 on weekends, and on public holidays it’s more like 10,000.
I’ve tried to invent other foods. I’m really upset about it. I can’t get anything that approaches that volume of egg tarts. The Chinese appreciate a specialty product. They’ll go miles to have that one famous congee.
Why worry? I have a product that’s doing very well.
When I came to Macau, the locals started to call me “Lord Stow,” just because I was English. When I opened the shop I decided to keep the name!
I was given the Macau Government gold medal for services to tourism last year. I was very proud. I think I’m only the second Brit to receive the honor.
I went knocking at Chris Patten’s door the other day. I gave him my book to sign, and said, “I’m the creator of the famous Macau egg tarts.” He said, “I’m really sorry, I’ve never tried them.”
What annoyed me, actually, was that I had written to Government House before inviting him to try them, and his aide-de-camp replied, “Mr. Patten probably won’t have time.” I doubt he was even told about it.
A little drop-off would have been nice: From one Englishman doing business in Macau to another.
I’m totally against this massive casino construction. It’s over the top; it’s just ridiculous.
The Wynn opened recently, it’s absolutely fabulous. It’s gorgeous. I had the buffet, it was fantastic, but the Wynn and the Sands is enough. Even the Venetian is going for overkill and the rest of them...
People who go to a casino are locked in the casino all day. It’s not helping my business any.
I think they’re diluting a market, not creating it.
I gamble $100 Hong Kong dollars a year with my mother on the slot machines. She never comes out on top. Not a chance.
Fisherman’s Wharf needs the tourists; locals aren’t going to go there.
I’m a strong believer that every chef in the world should be Australian. Can’t knock them: the creativity, the freshness.
I’ve just opened a new shop called the Garden Café. What next? I’ll start thinking about that in a month or so.
It’s not that I’m greedy, it’s just that I like doing things.