Dance to the rhythm of cooking
Sing to the wonder of life

Dance to the rhythm of cooking Sing to the wonder of life

Dance to the rhythm of cooking
Sing to the wonder of life

Minor Setbacks & Sweet Words

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      1. Those Sweet Words by Nora Jones

What do you do when you fall down a couple times…? Do you give up and crawl or do you get back up again and again and keep going? Well, recently I ran into a few minor setbacks and felt discouraged BUT instead of staying down and doing nothing about it, with sweet words from friends and family, I chose to get back up and keep moving forward.

I didn’t publicly post this but since a few months ago I worked part time as a menu consultant for a restaurant and a café in Beijing. I worked hard to create new unique desserts for both places, that’s one of the reasons why I only had little time to update my blog regularly (I apologize!).

ginger lemon square for the green coffee shop

Well, the things were going well and I overall very nice feedbacks, however, the restaurant/café business is a very tricky business especially in a big trendy city like Beijing/Shanghai/NY, just like the fashion industry, one day you are in, one day you are out.

lemon cheese cake with condensed milk, earl grey creme brulee and mojito iced coffee

at least for a few weeks, my desserts were sold at the cafe with good feedback 🙂

First, the café that opened early this year was losing too much money on rent (the rent in popular spots in Beijing is even higher than that of NY!!) that they suddenly closed down last month. I was a bit disappointed and felt bad for the owner because I know how much effort she put into opening this café…

Plating a sample dessert plate with the coffee shop owner

After having tested various Southeast Asian style desserts and supplying to the restaurant for almost 6 weeks, the owner of the restaurant suddenly decided to hire a full-time pastry chef… and here is the Korean drama twist – he hired a friend of mine whom I introduced him through another friend. I think my friend didn’t know… I was happy for her because a talented patry chef like her deserve this so I just wished her a good luck.

first delivery to the restaurant!

I understand it was supposed to be one month ‘testing phase’ but hearing the news via phone I was little upset. I tried to be calm and be professional about it and pretended to be fine…but actually I was very disappointed… disappointed at my self… and a bit heartbroken to be honest.

When I later found out the desserts I made at home, oftentimes past midnight and personally delivered, were never offered to the diners and were instead kept in the freezer, it took a big blow on my self-confidence.

teaching the staff how to plate various Southeast Asian desserts – tropical cheesecake, durian creme brulee, spiced chili chocolate cake

As a side note, I was just notified early this month, that same restaurant also closed down 🙁 F&B business really is challenging business anywhere.

Food blogging is a very lonely work sometimes. For a week or two in November, I went through a bit of slump – I didn’t want to cook, bake or write anything… because I thought no one was interested in reading anything I wrote on my blog anyways.

Around that time, I received a pleasant surprise I never expected. I received my very first fan email which was so encouraging to me. Those sweet words reminded me why I started Musichef in the first place – it was purely out of passion, my passion for writing music, cooking and sharing happiness with those around me.

Message from a fan/new friend

“hey gourmetsound-men a few days ago, while searching for organic food markets in beijing, i happen to get kind of stuck on your blog. since then i find myself coming back again, again… sometimes i would just listen to the sounds, look at the pictures and read about those little daily life stories, that made me laugh already several times or reminded me of stories of my own. this morning i even made my first own doujiang (with vanilla and cardamom ;-). Yummy!! yesterday i was listening to that song “things in life“ by dennis brown and i found myself fantasizing, what kind of dish would match with that song, hahaha ;-)! … i wonder what creations would come to your mind? thanks for your creativecrazyplayful ideas and sounds, the laughs you gave me, the love i feel in each dish… imagine that everyone on this planet did what they really loved and are passionate about… ;-). enjoy your day, the warm sun, the blue (!) beijinger sky :-D”



Thank you for your sweet words Z and a few new and old foodie friends who wrote to me. I felt sudden warmth in my heart knowing that through my humble blog, I’m actually making a small positive change in someone’s life… and more importantly, make someone smile 🙂

social media postings by friends and diners 🙂

I don’t see these two minor setbacks as failures but as two mini challenges that are preparing me for something even bigger and better in the future. Although I didn’t get a regular paying gig, at least now I’m beginning to understand more what kind of tastes and flavors the Chinese people like and dislike, plus I got three new original Musichef signature desserts under my belt ☺

Musichef original desserts 🙂

Additionally, since then, I’m doing my apprenticeship with a talented Australian chef cooking at various embassy events and hosting my own private parties. sheeee.. I will share a small secret – just last week, we cooked for the crown prince of Luxembourg!! How exciting I was!! I also have some other exciting plans lined up for the new year – one of them being going to Korea for a month to take a course in Korean/French pastry. I will update my daily learning on my Instagram – Musichef_TJ

Just like a friend of mine said, I also believe something great is just around the corner. Although at times, I’m unsure of what will come next, I will embrace the change and continue to give my best effort in all I do. And most importantly I will be true to myself – Musichef TJ .



I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and wish you a happy new year from Beijing! Thank you so much for everyone who is reading this and for supporting Musichef TJ ☺ Just remember, it’s not how many times that you fall that matters in the end but how many times you get back up 🙂



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  • salad

    Musichef TJ you are wonderful and inspiring. wishing you an awesome 2014!

    • thank you Sarah!! Wishing you the new year will bring all five of us +1’s + Chou family the best of fortune and happiness. I really hope that next time you come to Taiwan or Asia, that I will get to see you. I hope your trip to Taiwan was a fruitful one, miss you my friend!