Indians have always had a sweet tooth, so bakery and confectionery products and desserts will always be in great demand here, according to Bunty Mahajan, pastry chef, Deliciae Patisserie. In an e-mail interview to F&B News, she shared industry trends and spoke about her signature three-dimensional cake, among other things.
Deliciae Patisserie is a patisserie-cum-cafe. A few years after its first outlet opened in Khar, Mahajan opened a branch in Powai, another upmarket suburb of Mumbai. “These ventures started out of a sheer passion for baking,” she said. Apart from a range of cakes, the cafe's menu has an array of desserts.
“We follow the upscale standards of dessert-making. We use ingredients of a high quality, and the taste of our products matches those prepared overseas,” she said. “Our offerings include Death by Chocolate; Banoffee; baked cheesecake; blueberry cheesecake; strawberry and mango meringue,” she added.
“We also bake cakes bearing the likenesses of kids' favourite cartoon characters, and wedding cakes, which are guaranteed to make these occasions to celebrate more special,” said Mahajan. Incidentally, those who are in the mood for just a savoury snack or a cup of coffee can also have their fill. Deliciae Patisserie also has coffee, tea, milkshakes, paninis, sandwiches, frappes, etc.
Mahajan observed that over the past few years, Indians have begun to embark on frequent overseas trips, and are abreast of the latest trends. “This has obviously increased their appreciation of the finer things in life - better ingredients and great finishing touches and they are willing to shell out more for the same.”
“The growth rate of cake shops is directly related to the people's spending power. A section of the population is less hesitant to spend money now, and that has led to the possibility of hiking our prices, and consequently, giving them a better product the next time they come to your outlet,” she explained.
Like any industry, the bakery industry does have its share of challenges, which Mahajan touched upon briefly. She said, “The cake business is not a high revenue-earner. And of course, in an expensive city like Mumbai, commercial property rates being steep, it becomes difficult to have, and more importantly, sustain, a profitable retail outlet. Production units have to be expanded.”
She even offered a tip to people who aspire to become self-employed bakers after gaining a few years of experience in the industry. “It is important to understand costs, operations and of course, the actual work required to be done to set up a commercial kitchen/outlet, the legalities, accounting, purchasing, quality control and standardisation, and logistics.”
Mahajan has trained overseas with the best in the business, and offered her take on the regulatory aspects that often pose a hurdle for Indian food business operators. “Overseas, the experience in terms of training programmes is an eye-opener. The level of perfection they strive to achieve, the systems they follow for smooth operations of the production unit, and of course their professionalism are great learning experiences.”
And before she signed off, she let us in on the creations she's best known for, three-dimensional cakes. “These are cakes baked with the utmost level of detail. These are customised according to the requirement of the client, and are baked keeping in mind what the person for whom it is likes. They are a huge hit at parties,” she said.