Cakes, muffins, pastries, cookies, breads or brownies — the very mention of these comfort food ignite our senses. The whiff of freshly baked food items whenever we pass by a bakery is enticing.
Of late baking has become a culinary art form, where the punchiness of flavours converges with craftsmanship. Cakes and muffins when decorated with the icing sugar coated with chocolate chips and other embellishments decipher the profound and enduring love affair between the artist and their canvas.
Baking could be a mere hobby for many while it is a passion for some which ultimately lends a professional touch. Home bakers in Northeast India are fast emerging as a new genre – they are both passionate artists and serious entrepreneurs. MUMENINAZ ZAMAN profiles some popular home bakers who have carved a niche for themselves.
Manisha Khaund Das
It is not necessary that to start baking as a profession, you need to have a lavish outlet, or professional training until you are determined enough to chase your dreams and turn it into reality. Manisha Khaund Das, owner of the venture, My Magic Oven is a perfect example, who after leaving her well-settled advocacy job never looked back because she has found her peace of mind in baking.
Manisha started her journey of homemade bakery through her Facebook page My Magic Oven, she never realized that her passion would transform into a flourishing business.
“Since childhood I have always been fascinated about birthday cakes, later when I grew up I started baking the regular sponge cake. Time changed and I got engrossed in my career and then marriage and children, but somewhere I did not let my passion die, I started baking again and experimented with some sophisticated elements like icing on the cake, and incorporating various designs. The appreciation that came from my family and friends immensely insisted me to open a Facebook page and that’s how My Magic Oven was born.” said the passionate baker.
Manisha also credits the Internet for what she is today; YouTube has been her best friend in learning the tips and tricks of baking. Moreover, it’s through Facebook that she runs her business. She incorporates her ideas with her clients demand and the results are exquisite.
Theme based cakes and cupcakes are some of her speciality. She is very particular about her designs which have to be very polished, and most prominently maintains the taste and texture. Usually she takes order three to four days prior to the occasion since her masterpieces are purely homemade and she has to handle everything single-handedly, right from taking orders to packaging.
As of now, Manisha is not in a mood for opening any outlet, but plans to include manpower to assist her as she gets orders frequently for various occasions throughout the year.
“Baking is a very creative work, where one has to have interest and patience to pursue baking as a profession. It is a kind of stress reliever, and every time I am done with a piece the kind of mental satisfaction I gain is inexplicable.” says Manisha.
A self taught baker from a tender age, Rakhi Ganeriwal, the owner of the page, Trishas Chokola, through the ebb and flow of what life has to offer is one amongst the quintessential lady who has lived up to her passion. A home-baker by profession Rakhi has a long list of achievements to her credit. Rakhi started her baking business in 2014, it was then when her passion turned into her source of livelihood.
“Initially, my baking business took a leap through word of mouth and later the social media, which ultimately led to the expansion of Trisha’s Chokola. My presence on various social media platforms has definitely helped me to grow my business,” Rakhi affirmed.
Rakhi specializes in cakes, cookies, desserts, chocolates and exclusively in designer fondant cakes and edible hand painted cakes. Trisha’s Chokola is well known for its specialities in chocolate, including various edible chocolate items like chocolate photo frame, chocolate showpieces and anything which the client demands. Rakhi orders her chocolate from Bangalore and New Delhi, and on clients demand, she also provides them with Belgium chocolate. Rakhi considers her USP to be quality over quantity.
It needs to be mentioned here that Rakhi was one of the top 20 contestant of Masterchef India season 4 premiered by Star Plus, and she was the only contestant to represent Northeast. Her masterpiece, Apron winning dish was Chocolate Forest Floor. Rakhi further asserts that Masterchef has helped her to know the pros and cons of the food industry. She further expressed that learning under the renowned chefs was a life time experience for her that has definitely boosted her confidence.
Apart from that she was also a winner in the friendly competition entitled “Super Creative Cakes From The Greatest Cake Artists In the Planet: A Friendly Competition“ organized by Amazing Cake Ideas. Her creation Fashionista Cake was adjudged to be the Super Creative Cake in the World.
At present she is the official cake vendor of Ferns and Petals. In future Rakhi aspires to own a bakery cum café. Through her experience and practice Rakhi says, “Though I have failed many times and faced rejections, still it made me realize not to give up and to have faith in oneself because learning is a never ending process where patience and practice brings miracle to success.”
Another leading star in the home made baking profession is Ruhi Barooah, owner of the page Cake Cottage by Ruhi. An enthusiastic and passionate baker who decided to polish herself with all the skills required to get absorbed in the artistic venture of caking and baking.
“I have always been passionate about baking, initially I used to bake cakes as a hobby, but after graduation, I was confident enough that this is what I want to do. As such, to brush up my skills I pursued a diploma course on baking, in Bangalore and returned to Guwahati. Gradually I started taking orders and yes, I am a professional baker now.” said the charming lady.
Ruhi, however, also have some other plans in her kitty, she along with her friend Debo Pratim Das have been planning to do something in the food industry. As such when her friend came up with his own venture of the latest Tea Bistro in town, under the banner The Tea Story, she collaborated with him, and got a new platform to expand her business.
Ruhi further asserts that people in Guwahati nowadays, mostly prefer customized and theme based cake for every occasion. Her favourites are engagement and anniversary cakes where she incorporates a lot of floral designs.
She further aspires to open more outlets to expand her business and side by side maintain her own home made baking.
They are no famous bakers like, Buddy Valastro or Margaret Braun but the passion these women has, definitely proved their mettle in creating some of the irresistible chef d’oeuvre which can make any living entity to go gaga over it.
Mumeninaz Zaman is a student of Mass Communication and Journalism at Gauhati University, IDOL. She holds a diploma in Mass Communication and Journalism from Cotton College, Guwahati. She is also a member of an NGO named “Stars of the Northeast” that works for the welfare of society.