CHERRY LAU photo by Vivian Loh
LOWLOW NYC: What would you like to see yourself accomplish next month? What would you like to see yourself accomplish in one year?
CHERRY LAU: Since graduating from a four year undergraduate art program and having lived, before that, in NYC thinking about achieving every thing ever every day of my life, I’ve been working on taking it easy on the kind of “accomplishing” I think this question is referring to. Don’t get me wrong— My hopes and dreams are still there. But this time around I want to work with my mental illnesses and traumas in the future I want to see myself in. So in a way my dreams have never seemed realer, or more tangibly mine to fulfill. I’m just not approaching the action of “achieving them" in the same way I’ve been taught by media and in institutions for the last however many years of my life. Since the ways in which I was taught to accomplish things and in which success is measured in this country is based on the experiences of people who I have nothing in common with.
What made you fall in love with baking?
It was one or two years after I immigrated to New York with my family in 2000, and it was my first thanksgiving ever at my aunt’s house. I was maybe 7 or 8. Toward the end of the night she handed me a box of Pillsbury chocolate chip cake mix to take home and mess with. I didn’t know that cakes could be made from boxes, much less from the comfort of your own home. Back then in Hong Kong, where I was raised until I was 6 years old, there were no ovens in people’s homes because baking wasn’t a thing that people did (not that we didn’t eat bread-- there were bakeries readily available everywhere). So, I took it home and tried baking it. I remember not even using the real oven that was in the kitchen (we stored pots and pans there anyway) and using the small toaster oven we had instead. I remember getting really stubborn when my brother and mom tried to help me (I cried about it and they backed off). At the end of the day, the cake was baked, I thought the whole thing was absolutely unreal, and the rest is history.
What are some of your current inspirations?
I recently visited Hong Kong with my family and went up to my grandmother’s attic to see what kind of wares we could take back to the states with us. We found all these old ceramic rice bowls and plates. They’re covered in a layer of dust and soot from having been stored away for at least 20 years, some even 30. They safely made it back to Baltimore with me but I haven’t used them for anything yet. I don’t want to wash off the layer of dust. Something about how every time I pick them up it leaves a physical and visible fingerprint is really profound to me.
Favorite soda flavor?
I don’t drink soda but I do enjoy a cola-flavored sour gummy from time to time :^)
Find Cherry at @studiosnacks