University of Melbourne : Careers Guide 2012
FEEDING THE FUTURE People come into the food industry from all different backgrounds. For Maylynn Tsoi and Hugh Morley, studies in Arts and Law and passions for philosophy and cinema were key ingredients to their colourful patisserie, La Belle Miette. Christopher Strong Food for ThoughT When Maylynn Tsoi began her studies at the University of Melbourne, she knew she was destined to follow a creative path, but she wasn’t sure in which field that would be. “I first enrolled in a double degree in Arts and Law. Fortunately, my brother had already completed these courses before me and because he knew me very well and thought I was not right for Law, he advised me to focus only on Arts,” Maylynn says. She met Hugh Morley in the final year of her Bachelor of Arts, in which she was majoring in English and Cinema Studies. He had already completed the Bachelor of Arts with majors in Philosophy and Chinese Language, and the Juris Doctor at the Melbourne Law School. “Both Hugh and I loved studying our Arts degrees,” Maylynn says. “ The mode of thinking that you develop – in being able to assess things from different angles – has been incredibly useful in creating and developing our business,” she says. Today their business is La Belle Miette, a tiny retreat on Hardware Lane in Melbourne’s CBD where shoppers and » Fact Cafés, restaurants and ‘other’ food businesses accounted for 17% of Australia’s $125.7b in retail food sales in 20 0 9–10. Source: Australia Food Statistics, DAFF Make it happen Master of Food Science Bachelor of Arts FIRST DEGREE GRADUATE STUDY OPTIONS For Hugh, the idea of going to France to work on something with Maylynn seemed a far more more glamorous option than processing a document – and it helped that he was already a fluent French speaker. “ We travel together to France to learn from the masters through ‘dessert research ’,” Hugh says. “ When we find something we love and would like to try, I ask the chefs and patisserie owners questions about their methodology.” The pair’s knowledge of French language, culture and philosophy has not only helped them learn about the secret techniques and ingredients used in the finest Parisian patisseries, but also helped them build professional networks in Melbourne. Their love of philosophy is front and centre in the name of their shop. One of their original choices for its name was Objet Petit, a term coined by French philosopher Jacques Lacan which refers to the unattainable object of desire. “ The term was fitting for macaroons as little objects of desire that can be frustratingly difficult to make,” says Maylynn. It was also an indirect reference to Luis Bunuel, director of Cet Obscur Objet du Désir, whom Maylynn discovered while studying cinema at the University of Melbourne. Ultimately they decided the pronunciation would be difficult for a non- French speaker, so they agreed on La Belle Miette – the beautiful small thing. workers can take a break and step into a Parisian fantasy to indulge in handcrafted macaroons that are gourmet in both flavour and design. Prior to the opening of La Belle Miette, Hugh was working at a Melbourne law firm and weighing up a career change. Maylynn had been creating French patisserie since she was young, but hadn’t considered it as a career until that point.