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Interview with Master Baker Chef Wai  on the Creation of the Nogami 乃が美 Sourdough Loaf 

After months of absence, Master Baker Chef Wai came back from his "Laboratory" with a vengeance. He introduced the Nogami Sourdough Loaf that became an instant hit among his sourdough fans. We got the chance to sit down with him to understand the methodology behind his insanity.

Note: This interview is conducted in May 2024 shortly after the soft launch of Nogami Sourdough Loaf that created frenzy during the opening campaign.

The interview

Interviewer: Good morning, and thank you for joining us today. We're excited to learn more about your journey and your unique creation. To start, could you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background in baking?

Master Baker Chef Wai: Good morning! Thank you for having me. My name is Wai, and I've been a professional chef & baker for over 20 years. I started my career in Singapore followed by stints around the world including Tokyo, where I developed a passion for traditional Japanese baking techniques. Over the years, I’ve worked in various parts of the world, learning and integrating different baking styles.

Interviewer: That’s fascinating! So, what inspired you to create the Nogami sourdough loaf?

Master Baker Chef Wai: The idea came from my desire to blend traditional Japanese flavours with the classic sourdough process. Japanese cuisine often emphasizes subtlety and balance, and I wanted to see how those principles could be applied to sourdough, which is known for its bold and tangy flavors. It was an exciting challenge to bring these two worlds together.

Interviewer: It sounds like a delightful fusion. Could you walk us through the process of creating this unique loaf?

Master Baker Chef Wai: Absolutely. The process starts with a traditional sourdough starter, which I feed with a mix of high-quality rye and water. The key twist is the incorporation of Japanese baking techniques that allows softer crumbs that you don't get from typical western sourdough breads. This not only add unique flavours but also enhance the nutritional profile of the bread. The dough is then given a long fermentation period to develop its complex flavours before being baked to perfection.

Interviewer: That sounds delicious. How did you determine the right balance of flavours?


Master Baker Chef Wai: It took a lot of experimentation. I spent months tweaking the ratios and fermentation times to ensure that the Japanese techniques complemented rather than overpowered the natural sourness of the dough. I also gathered feedback from customers and colleagues, which was invaluable in refining the recipe.


Interviewer: It must have been quite the journey. How has the response been from your customers?


Master Baker Chef Wai: The response has been overwhelmingly positive. People appreciate the unique blend of familiar and new flavours. Many customers have told me that it reminds them of home, especially those who grew up in Japan. It’s been very rewarding to see how much they enjoy it.

Interviewer: What do you think sets your Nogami sourdough loaf apart from other types of bread?


Master Baker Chef Wai: I believe it’s the harmony of flavours and the attention to detail in the preparation process. Each ingredient is carefully selected and balanced to create a loaf that is both distinctively Japanese and authentically sourdough. It’s this fusion that makes it stand out.

Interviewer: What advice would you give to aspiring bakers who want to create their own unique recipes?


Master Baker Chef Wai: Be patient and persistent. Baking is as much a science as it is an art. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and techniques. Listen to feedback and be prepared to adjust your approach. Most importantly, stay passionate about what you do.

Interviewer: Thank you so much for sharing your story and insights with us. We’re sure our readers will be inspired by your creativity and dedication.


Master Baker Chef Wai: Thank you for having me. It’s been a pleasure to share my journey with you.

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