Trained in London and inspired by her mother's baking skills, MAITRAYEE OJA whips up exotic bakery products for Guwahatians. ANINDITA DAS catches up with this enterprising lady
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What could be more desirable to have a perfect place to hang out in the heart of the city, sipping piping hot coffee brewed from Nilgiri beans and freshly baked buttery pastries which melt in the mouth? A name to reckon with in this regard is Patisserie Opera, in Ulubari point of Guwahati, which offers a delectable range of cakes, pastries, savouries and drinks. “Baking has always been my passion, as my mother is very good at it and I learned from her”, says Maitrayee Oja, the proprietor of the bakery joint. Another reason which prompted her to bake is the non-existence of a 'good' pastry shop in Guwahati where she could get the cakes and pastries of her choice.
So, when the time arrived to choose a profession for her, Maitrayee thought of pursuing her fondness for baking and decided to join one of the leading institutes Le Cordon Bleu in London. The institute is considered to be the guardian of French Culinary Techniques, providing specialised diploma course in Patisserie. “I had a very good experience there. Never felt any sort of racial discrimination. After returning from London, I joined Oberoi in Mumbai, where I worked more for experience rather than a profession, wanted to know how the working conditions in India is in the gastronomy industry”. She worked with Chef Abhijeet Ghosh, which she considers to be an utterly wonderful experience. She was looking basically into French pastry.
The time when she decided to open a bakery in her hometown Guwahati, her prerogative was to provide a few exclusive items for Guwahatians. Patisserie Opera, ‘Patisserie’ meaning Pastry Shop and ‘Opera’ standing for an elaborate French pastry, was inaugurated on August 15, 2012. She presented French pastry with an Indian flavour, to suit the taste buds of the locals. Maitrayee gives priority to quality and hygiene. She is very particular about the taste of the final products and until it satisfies her she does not let it be displayed in her shop. Her chefs are hired from Delhi and are all trained by her.
Patisserie Opera offers an array of exotic pastries such as French pastry, fresh fruit pastry, black forest, strawberry cheesecake as well as doughnuts, cheese straws, chicken sandwich, shami kebab and chicken patties which have become very popular items among the Guwahatians. When asked about her competitors in the field, Maitrayee says that it is always good to have healthy competition. She wants to tell Guwahatians how how cakes and pastries ought to be. “I want to make people happy,” she smiles. We can assure you that the delicacies at the bake shop will leave you smiling!
Born and brought up in Assam's Guwahati city, Anindita Das did her masters from Tezpur University and M.Phil from Gauhati University in English. She had previously worked as a lecturer in a college and is at present working as the Project fellow in the Department of English, Gauhati University. Occasionally anchors in T.V programmes, and reading and cooking are her favourite pastime.