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Sam Lai is the owner and creator of Hobart-based online patisserie, Woofee Cake Lab.

Having lived in Tasmania since 2017, Sam started Woofee Cake Lab with his partner in 2020 after realising there was a gap in the Hobart market for Asian-style desserts.

Aiming to show their passion for pastries through their products, they take joy in sparking a sense of whimsy and delight in their customers.

Sam says, “We believe we can share some happiness along with our cakes”.

The patisserie has made a name for itself at many local Tasmanian markets, with its choux pastry being a particular crowd favourite.

“My partner and I love to eat choux cream puffs because of the unique texture and the custard cream inside. We will change one of the flavours of the cream every month based on the seasonal produce available in Tasmania,” says Sam.

Their lemon and elderflower, and rhubarb and strawberry varieties were fan favourites at the recent Taste of Summer festival in Hobart, an event showcasing Tasmania’s finestfood and drinks.

They’re also working on expanding their range to include some vegan and gluten-free options – so watch this space!

Certificate III in Commercial Cookery

Currently completing a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery at TasTAFE, Sam loves every minute of his study experience.

“Studying at TasTAFE is an unforgettable experience in my life. The students and the teachers are so nice. TasTAFE also provides the best equipment for us to use in our learning, which helps me fit into the working environment quickly,” says Sam.

The Certificate III in Commercial Cookery gives learners the opportunity to develop strong foundations in restaurant cookery, kitchen management, finance and kitchen safety practices.

With a strong focus on environmentally sustainable cooking practices and access to incredible local produce, studying commercial cookery at TasTAFE is the perfect way to expand on any student’s love of cooking (and eating!).

Sam says that his time studying with TasTAFE has significantly helped him improve both the quality of his cakes and his skills in broader business.

“The teachers at TasTAFE always emphasise attention to detail. When I started to look at the details of my products, I realised there were many aspects of my work that I could improve,” he says.

Sea change

Originally moving to Brisbane from Hong Kong, Sam was excited about the prospect of the milder climate that Tasmania offers.

“There is cooler weather here for most of the year. It is good for selling cakes at the market,” Sam explains.

Aside from the weather, Sam was also keen to live and study in Tasmania because of the abundance of natural beauty the state offers.

“I think the best experience here is that I can go on a road trip for a holiday, with lots of national parks and spectacular landmarks to travel to. I enjoy the natural environment a lot here,” says Sam.

He also loves to explore the local culture – in particular, the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA).

“MONA is one of my favourite places to visit. I think the idea is very special. I appreciate the spirit of MONA – they love to try many new concepts and are willing to hold different events throughout the year. The Dark Mofo festival is absolutely amazing,” he says.

Future prospects

Running a rustic-inspired brick-and-mortar cafe has long been a dream of Sam’s.

“I want to continue to promote the desserts I love to the public of Hobart,” he says.

Aside from cakes and pastries, Sam would also love to expand the business to have a lunch menu focusing on homemade pasta and bread.

Advice for other international students

Sam’s advice for future international students considering life in Tasmania is to try to visit the area before moving here. That way, he says, you can get an idea of what’s on offer.

“Nothing is better than experiencing Tasmanian life in person,” says Sam.