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From Marketing and Communications Fraternity to the Director of The Marcom Avenue. The journey of Divanshi Gupta

1. Hi Divanshi, welcome to the interview session of Anamitra’s Blog. To start with, we would request you to tell us a few lines about yourself.

Divanshi Gupta is a young, far-sighted and zealous entrepreneur, who has taken up the leadership position of the Director at The Marcom Avenue. She has been working for the Marketing and Communications Fraternity for 8+ years and her experience in curating marketing strategies has helped brands bring meaningful experiences to life. Her motto to work with the brand as a growth partner and not just an agency has helped numerous brands in creating real value – whether it be leads, revenue, loyalty, or capitalization.

Q2. How did you get the idea of starting The Marcom Avenue?

Well, starting something of my own has always driven me. I have always believed in “If you have a dream, don’t just sit there. Gather the courage to believe that you can succeed and leave no stone unturned to make it a reality.” I did the same when I started The Marcom Avenue.

The idea of starting this organization was not new to me as I was a part of the media & marketing world for some time, but experiencing the changing trends of the industry and the thought of introducing new ones in the market inspired me to have my own integrated marketing agency.

Q3. Please tell us more about your journey of The Marcom Avenue from the beginning till now?

We started with providing digital marketing services but our experience in the industry helped us realize that today is the time of integrated marketing solution as brands want one agency to handle end to end online and offline marketing to ensure same brand theme, communication and brand tonality. Also the brands save cost, resources and manpower by doing the same. Hence we expanded to have a specialized and experienced team for integrated marketing and its various aspects. Last year The need from various cities mainly Bombay and Bangalore got us to expand to those regions last year in India.

Q4. What challenges did you face as a woman entrepreneur and how did you overcome them?

As a woman entrepreneur, I have not been very fortunate to have perfect or well-trained staff. I have faced my set of left-right and centers. I have faced troubles of being a female boss. Honestly, I have not been taken seriously and not respected because of my gender but it never made me give up my goals. Their behavior encouraged me to be better and be an achiever.

About solving the challenges I was very true to myself and our brand. I dedicatedly worked day and night creating and building the brand and serving our clients. Some of the remarks that were straight out-right. I handled with great calmness. My work and dedication to the company objective did the rest. I believe Gender doesn’t make a difference to achieving the goal the mindset does.

Q5. What is the USP for The Marcom Avenue?

The major USP of The Marcom Avenue is that it is an integrated marketing agency that offers end-to-end marketing services (both offline and online) to its esteemed clients. To establish and elevate the positioning of the brands that we work for, we analyse every aspect of the brand, work closely with the brand’s team to understand their goal and align the creative processes accordingly.

Q6. Name some of your success stories.

We have a trained team of professionals who thrive every day to solve problems and help businesses grow. We function not just as an agency but like a partner to our clients. Over the past years, we have gained deep expertise in 27 industries ranging from real estate, travel, hospitality, e-commerce, fashion, technology, education, food & beverages and many other industries. We have worked with some of the best brands and helped them build their brand identity. Our clientele includes Mahindra World City, Ambience Group, Sobha, Nestle, OYO, Sarovar Portico, Vertel Digital, DLF and many more. Some of the foreign clientele includes Queens of India(Bali), EADA University( Spain), ImpulseRadar (Sweden), Technostruct(California), TastyOOS( UAE) and many more.

Q7. What are your plans for The Marcom Avenue for the next 5 years?

Today, consumers understand on-the-face ads and so brands try to avoid them. With the increasing demand for creativity in every communication that goes out from a brand, media agencies are found to be in a fix and fight and are struggling through a competitive environment. The emergence and growth of big data, greater need for customization, latest technology, machine learning has lead to changing and growing customer/brand demands. Thus, these factors have forced the advertising sector to re-look at the existing model and develop innovative ideas for clients and consumers.

Nowadays, customers want specialists that drive strong, personalised and data-driven communication. My plan for The Marcom Avenue is to establish ourselves amongst the leading integrated marketing service providers in the country by curating more audience-specific strategies, developing content that is trendy, relatable and engaging for the customers.

Q8. Do you encourage other women entrepreneurs who make similar ventures? What tips do you have for them?

Women have been long undermined when it comes to entrepreneurship. But no more, I stand by every woman who is standing up to achieve her dreams. In my opinion, women’s contribution in the Indian start-up community is still to rise as they are yet to realise their full potential. Irrespective of gender bias, there are various challenges that a woman needs to overcome such as mustering up her confidence, fighting family paradoxes and whatnot.

I would like to advise every woman to believe in their dreams if they want to make it a reality. Be it your parents or your spouse you should have the willpower and the ability to convince them so that they should be part of your happiness, struggles and offer you seamless support and encouragement at every phase of your life.

I would also like to suggest some tips like:

  • Get feedback to elevate your performance.
  • Do not stop learning ever.
  • Build strong corporate connections
  • Be confident while making decisions
  • Failure is a part of success.

From Corporate to Entrepreneur The exclusive tale of GoStops by Pallavi Agarwal

1. Hi Pallavi, welcome to the interview session of Anamitra’s Blog. To start with, we would request you to tell us a few lines about yourself.

I am the Co-Founder and CEO of goStops; one of India’s largest premium chain of youth hostels. With an intense passion for making social spaces for the youth, I opened the first goStops hostel in Varanasi. Since then, goStops has enlarged its presence to thirteen hostels all across India.  In 2003, I graduated in economics from Kamla Nehru college Delhi University and In 2004 I began my career as a consultant with ‘The Smart Cube’, learning Industrial and monetary services.

I did my Master’s program from an International Management Institute in 2007. I had worked with many reputed companies like Tata Capital as a sales manager in Rural Financial Marketing, Millward Brown as an account manager and Quantum Consumer Solutions as a senior manager.

After having years of wealthy expertise in MNCs, I founded goStops in 2014 with the vision of making social areas for the youth. Since then I am managing goStops like my child. Besides being the boss-lady, I am a mommy to 3 dogs and 4 cats. I am also fond of music and have a special place in my heart for old-Hindi songs.

2. What motivated you to start your company?

The idea of goStops took form when I along with my husband was backpacking across Europe, back in 2012. I was fascinated by the hostel culture there and wondered why a similar model didn’t exist in India for travelers who were looking for premium quality social accommodations at an affordable price.

In the Indian short-stay accommodation market, there was a void in quality-assured stays in the budget range of INR 400-800 per night. Such accommodations were mostly poorly maintained and were unpredictable in terms of quality and experience. In addition to this, there was no accommodation brand that was youth-friendly and which exclusively catered to their needs and aspirations in terms of quality, design, experience and budget. This youth population is 370 million strong. It is growing fast and is very aspirational in terms of lifestyle. We saw a clear white-space in the market. We spotted this problem and have been trying to solve this ever since the inception of the first goStops hostel in Varanasi.

3. Who are your biggest competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?

We don’t see anyone as our direct competitor as our business model is quite unique. goStops is a full-stack youth hostel company. We lease, manage, franchise real estate assets, which we design, transform, market, sell, and operate as youth hostels in locations where the youth travels for business or leisure. 

4. What is your USP?

Our hostels are designed exclusively for the young population, who are looking for quality stays at affordable prices, especially youngsters in the 18-30 years age group.  We want to cater to the aspirational lifestyle needs of the youth and keeping this in mind. We have designed the entire hostel experience around it. Hostels are hubs for socializing with travelers from all parts of the country and the world. One gets exposed to new nationalities, cultures, languages, and lifestyles. New bonds and friendships are born and one can meet people from all walks of life. Hence, one is bound to connect with like-minded individuals at a hostel. This is an experience that most young Indians aspire for and this is where goStops comes into picture, as a youth desired hotel brand that focuses on their aspirations, where travelers could be co-living and co-working.

We have CCTV cameras installed in all the alleys, common spaces and outdoor area of the hostels. There is a 24×7 security guard on-duty at all our hostels that ensure the safety of all our guests. Every guest has a spacious locker available (included in basic facilities) to keep his or her valuables safely.

5. As a woman entrepreneur, you must have had to overcome challenges. Please tell us about them?

The most difficult challenge was to maintain the quality, design and experience of the properties while scaling up to new locations. We overcame this challenge by using technological and creative solutions, with the help of a team that understood our vision and was involved with us since the inception. 

We also didn’t pay much attention to branding/marketing due to which we might have lost some growth opportunities, which could have been utilized to the advantage of the brand to make it popular among our target audience. In order to overcome this, we have created a strong team of   talented individuals who can push the brand forward.

6. Narrate some of your success stories.

Our ability to run goStops profitably as a bootstrapped organization for 5 years is the most interesting success story for us. These 5 years taught us how to run a business effectively without needing any external sources of funding and turned us into thoughtful and mindful investors of our limited funds. 

7. What plans do you have to scale your business operations?

We are planning to expand our presence across the country by doubling our bed capacity within the next 12 months. We are also planning to utilize recently raised funds to enhance our product offerings through investments in technology & training, add new revenue streams, strengthen our marketing and build a team to handle the next phase of growth. goStops is planning to cover all the metro cities in the next 12 months along with expanding our presence in North and West India including Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Goa, and Jammu & Kashmir.

8. Your advice to those who wish to be an entrepreneur?

Strive on diligently. Consistent focus and dedication can overpower everything else even talent.

Website: https://gostops.com/

Insia brings exclusive Valentine’s jewellery collection with 20% discount

Insia.in has recently introduced the exclusive collection of western jewellery in view of Valentine’s Day. The collection simply reflects the token of love as all the jewel pieces are designed to perfection keeping in mind the importance of Valentine’s Day for the couples. The connection is not just there to add glamour to the appearance of the wearer but also to reflect their sense of style and statement they create. These jewel pieces are the best collection for those who are in search of western and fashion jewelry that provide then a perfect blend of bold and stylish touch.

The design and style patterns of this collection of valentine jewellery will surely not fail to impress the women. Unlike gold and diamond jewellery, these beautiful jewel pieces are not too much expensive. Therefore one can easily buy and gift these Valentine’s jewellery to their special one. It will be to reflect their immense love for their better half.

To make this collection more affordable for the jewellery lovers, insia.in also offers 20 per cent discount for the period from February 1 to February 15 so it is the right time for every men to grab this offer and give a special gift to their loved ones on this Valentine’s Day.

The best thing about this special collection is that women can also pair it with their daily outfits. No matter whether they want to pair it with their professional outfit or casual outfit, it will surely goes well with all kind of attires. Inspired by the romantic month of February, this exclusive collection of classy yet stylish jewellery is surely an ideal choice for women of modern time who want to flaunt their fashionable taste and look to carry an appealing appearance on all the occasion. 

About Insia

Insia.in, one of the most trusted online fashion jewelry, Designer Scarf and accessories portals, is highly admirable for its wide range of western jewellery, modern handbags, hair accessories and classy wrist watches ensuring distinctly innovative design language and high-end fashion sense. Fashion lovers who want to taste the touch of modern style and design can explore the portal.

Media Contact

Company Name- Insia

Contact Person- Ankit Bhardwaj

Email- info@insia.in

Website URL- https://www.insia.in/

Address- Gurgaon, Haryana, India

RockRush launches an exclusive jewellery collection for Valentine’s Day

RockRush – India’s trusted e-tailer service that brings diamond jewellery directly to your doorstep, introduces their Valentine’s Day collection. It’s that time of the year where huge bouquets of roses are set, heart-shaped gifts and teddy bears are ready on the shelf tops; mushy cards are printed, yummy chocolates in glittery boxes are waiting to be bought and exchanged. But why limit to that? Make your V-day brighter than a red rose, sweeter than chocolates and more poetic than a greeting card with RockRush’s new jewellery designs.

The RockRush Valentine’s Day jewellery collection is a forever bond that seals the relationship with love and care. Be it a special gift for your significant other, something special for your mom, or a memento for a deeply rooted friendship or gifting yourself some bling; set hearts aflutter with exquisite designs conceptualized for the modern women and men in mind, making them the perfect Valentine’s gift for husband and wife. Starting from a price range of 4,862 INR, these are perfect gifts for Valentine’s Day.

RockRush brings a collection that abundant with varied understated designs that speak volumes. This jewellery is ideal for those who want to see the elegance of white gold and the glitter of diamonds on their ladylove’s finger. We have rings, pendants, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, nose-pins, charms, mangalsutra, cufflinks and more for daily, office, party and wedding occasion. These designs have the contemporary, religious, modern and traditional look and feel to them and are utterly romantic pieces that you will be reaching for again and again. It can’t get dreamier than this with the heart-shaped, ruby and diamond-studded jewellery pieces that showcase the everlasting circle of love. Depending on the taste of your beloved, you can choose from our classic gold pieces or opt for contemporary diamond ornaments as the Valentine best gift for wife. You will be giving them a gift of jewellery that spells love and splendour. RockRush offers some of the best online Valentine’s Day gifts for him. RockRush is offering a discount of up to 25% on diamond prices.

About RockRush:

At RockRush, the main aim is to make diamonds and diamond jewellery affordable and accessible to all. The material is sourced so that you have access to a wider variety of designs and styles than anywhere else. Customer satisfaction and feedback are also of utmost importance to RockRush, and they ensure the same through a dedicated and fully-equipped helpline. RockRush jewellery is designed for the woman of today – bold, uninhibited and unafraid to take risks. Recognizing the evolution of the digital era, they deliver the same with their products.

Media Contact

Company Name: Rockrush Online Private Limited

Contact Person: Sumeet Rewari

Email: contact@rockrush.com

Country: India

Websitehttps://www.rockrush.com/

From an Engineer to a Entrepreneur The unique tale of Twirl Store by Sujata Chatterjee

  1. Hi Sujata, Welcome to the interview session of Anamitra’s Blog. To start with, we would request you to tell us a few lines about yourself.

I am Sujata Chatterjee, the founder of www.twirl.store. I am based in Kolkata and am an engineer with degrees in management and marketing too. I am also the mother of 2 lovely kids, Ranabir and Anaya.

2. How did you get the idea of starting Twirl?

We live in an age of a Retail boom where everything is so easily available to us that we shop throughout the year, leading to overflowing wardrobes for most of us. At the same time, in the slums and villages of India, many people struggle to find basic clothing and many talented women need a decent source of livelihood.

The idea of Twirl came to bridge the gap between these 2 ends of society and solve the problems on both sides. At Twirl.store, we encourage you to send your unwanted clothes to us. Customers get rewarded with points which they can redeem to buy new things from us. And with all the old clothes that Twirl receives, Twirl either donates it or up-scales it as a fabric to make new wonders. This work of up-cycling or reusing fabrics is done by women primarily rural women thus giving them a source of livelihood.

3. Please also describe your journey of Twirl from the beginning till now?

Twirl.store is an eCommerce site that works on a totally different business model which had not been done in India before. So starting something unique was obviously an uphill task but we are honored by all the love we have received from customers and corporates across the country. We are thrilled to have been covered by a range of media and received felicitation from prestigious platforms. But our greatest achievement is the smiles on the faces of those less-fortunate whose lives we have been able to touch.

4. What challenges did you face as a woman entrepreneur and How did you overcome them?

Being a lady entrepreneur from Kolkata and attempting to start a new business model, people were initially very skeptical about my ideas. But I think as an entrepreneur you need to have the mental strength to take criticism and pick yourself up from every setback.

5. What is your USP?

Twirl.store is the only platform providing an easy solution to your wardrobe worries while also benefiting society and environment. We offer free home pickup of your unwanted clothing and free delivery of our unique up-cycled products across the country. So its never been easier to keep rotating your wardrobe while also doing a good deed.

6. Narrate some of your success stories.

Twirl serves customers across the country and also works in partnership with organisations. We are part of Start Up India and selected in NASSCOM 10000StartUps program. We were awarded  Women on a Mission by Your Story, felicitated at the Tata Social Enterprise Challenge 2019 and recognized by DST, Govt of India and IIM Calcutta as one of the best ideas to transform India. Eastern Chamber of Commerce has also recognized our efforts and named us Swayam Siddha.

7. What are your future plans for Twirl?

We hope to get more and more people across the country involved in the Twirl circle and hope everyone joins our initiative to make fashion and retail a sustainable circle.

8. Your advice to those who wish to be an entrepreneur.

Believe in your dreams !

Nizami Khana- Food Review at Riwayat

I have always loved food and I begin this new year with a food post. Happy New Year 2020. Being a Hyderabadi from birth I always wanted to explore the Nizam style of cuisine and I had the opportunity to visit Riwayat. This post is about my experience at Riwayat.

Ambiance of Riwayat

I liked the ambiance where the place is decorated with chandeliers, long curtains, decent seating arrangement and antique pieces. Not to forget they have exterior seating as well.

Delicious Starters

I had the opportunity to taste the vegetarian and non-vegetarian starters. In the vegetarian menu it was the Hariyali Kebab and Grilled Paneer. The vegetarian starters were my absolute favorite and I enjoyed eating it the most. Coming to the non vegetarian starters I had Chicken Tikka, Tangdi Kebab, Fish Tikka and Seekh Kebab. The Chicken Tikka was perfect in taste and apt. Hence in starters I would recommend Hariyali Kebab, Grilled Paneer and Chicken Tikka.

Delicious Main Course at Riwayat

In the main course there were quite a few items i.e. Dum Chicken, Mutton Roganjosh, Mutton Biriyani, Murg Lababdar, Dal Makhani, Paneer Butter Masala, Mushroom Masala and Jeera Rice.  Being allergic to mutton made me miss few dishes in main course but not to forget I managed to have the vegetarian and non vegetarian main course. I had the Chicken Biryani, Dum Chicken and Paneer Butter Masala. The Paneer Butter Masala was great in taste but it was bit oily. The Chicken Biryani and Dum Chicken was perfect in taste.

Desserts

Desserts still remain my favorite after the main course. In Desserts we were served Kaddu ki Kheer, Beetroot Halwa and Gulab Jamun. The Gulab Jamun was served hot and was good in taste but I felt it was little extra sweet. The Kaddu ki Kheer and Beet Root Halwa was absolute good in taste. Desserts is something which should not be missed here after the main course.

Final Verdict

If you love authentic Nizami Food then Riwayat is the best place where you should surely try and visit with your family and friends.

Rating: 4*/5

The Bhoj Company- A Probashi Bengali’s Experience

Being a probashi bengali for over the years I never had the opportunity to explore and taste the bengali food. After roaming at the City Center malls whole day I was invited by my friend Tanmay for a tasting session to taste the authentic Bengali food.

The Bhoj Company Review

Ambiance

The ambiance just made me feel home. The restaurant has two floors which is very spacious. I personally fell in love with their seat arrangement added to that their wall paintings and traditional decorative items.

Food Review: A Probashi’s Perspective

Starters

I personally love eating starters whichever place I visit. As soon as I visited there within few minutes I was served Bhetki Fish Fry with French Fries and Mustard Chutney which was just amazing and delicious.

Diverse Main Courses, Different Presentation

As I went alone for the food tasting session I managed to eat their two special authentic Bengali and Dhakai Cuisine. I had Rice with Kachu Bhapa Chingri and Dhakai Morag Pulao. The Kachu Bhapa Chingri was prepared with fresh mustard paste but the spice blended with kochu shaak (spinach) and chingri (prawn). This particular dish is recommended with rice. The Dhakai Morag Pulao was with dry fruits and sweet. The Pulao was very tasty. The Chicken pieces and the egg was very soft. Both the dishes were well prepared and the food was delicious.

Desserts Love

No matter how much I am full I always have that space to eat sweets. After a wholesome delicious meal I had their Rasmalai and Baked Chom Chom. The Rasmalai looked more of rasgulla however the taste was different. It was made of nolen gur and it was absolutely mouth watering. I have been inclined towards other sweets from childhood but when I tried the Baked Chom Chom it tasted yum and delightful. After my visit to Kolkata I have fallen in love with the Bengali Sweets.

Final Verdict: Anamitra Debnath’s Experience

I hardly had experienced Bengali Food in my lifetime. After Bhojohori Manna I had it at The Bhoj Company The starter, main course and the sweets was just delicious. The service was prompt and I loved their hospitality. A big shout-out to Tanmay, Sankar and Gouranga for serving me the best Bengali and Dhakai Food.

Overall Rating: 5*/5

Hope you enjoyed my review. Please mention in the comments below or tweet to me on @anamitradebnath

Lawyer by education to Food and Travel Blogging. The unique journey of Devashree Sanghvi!

  1. Hi Devashree, welcome to the interview session of Anamitra’s Blog. To start with, we would request you to tell us a few lines about yourself.
    Hey! My name is Devashree Sanghvi. I am the founder of Thecrazyindianfoodie a popular, award winning Travel and Food blog based in Mumbai with over 300K followers across social media and a website. We write about and post about restaurants, street food, hotels, destinations, events, recipes and more.

2. When and why did you start blogging?
I’m actually a lawyer by qualification and I started Thecrazyindianfoodie as a website way back in 2014 as a recipe based website. I love cooking, eating out, exploring new places and was pretty active on channels like Zomato. I started my social media pages in July 2015 out of a sheer passion for Food. I started making more and more efforts on my content and my page grew rapidly.

3. Did you ever think you would be successful when you started with Blogging and
Instagram?
No never in my wildest dream did I imagine I’ll be where I am today. Influencer
marketing was just starting to catch up in those days and there were very few bloggers in the industry. I never even imagined making this my full time career at that time.

4. Please tell us more about your cooking and blogging schedules. How do you plan your posts?
I make sure I post twice a day without fail. Content can vary and sometimes it’s a last moment decision on what I want to post. However a lot of times depending on the campaigns we are doing and how the response is to recent posts we plan it out weeks in advance. I make sure I’m shooting and editing at least two videos a week whether they are travel or recipe or street food.

5. What are the biggest challenges you face as a food blogger? Tell us about how you overcome them?
One of the major challenges is the increasing competition and the struggle to maintain good, high quality unique content that gets a large number of engagement. We strive to bring better content to our audience everyday. Content is king.

6. How much does website traffic matter to you? What do you do to ensure that people visit and revisit your page?
Having a good and strong website is extremely essential. It also shows brands that you’re serious about your job, and adds value to your profile too. Plus it’s the only platform that’s truly yours compared to social media that can change algorithms anytime. Make sure you post good and regular content and also cross promote it on your social media.

7. Your blog is an interesting mix of food, travel, lifestyle, and recipes. What gave rise to
this combination?
Food and Travel both go wonderfully together and are my two major passions. Every place has a unique cuisine and culture and that’s reflected in my posts. I always make sure I add a personal touch to my posts and that’s where the lifestyle bit comes in. Recipes was and always will be a way of showing my audience how to make those dishes I taste all around the world.

8. In a world full of food bloggers, what sets Thecrazyindianfoodie apart?
Our unique and engaging content. You can find everything from street food to luxury hotels to destination videos to simple home cooking recipes there. There’s something in it for everyone. Also Thecrazyindianfoodie isn’t just another page, it’s the connection I have with my audience by always giving my personal touch to my posts and stories. After so many years people trust and respect our recommendations.

9. Narrate some of your success stories.

The fact that I get to travel to beautiful destinations, try different cuisines and meet amazing people everyday makes me feel lucky all the time. I have had amazing opportunities like giving a Josh talk on my journey and being able to inspire others to pursue their dreams.I was part of an international Travel Bloggers Conference where I won a Sri Lankan Airlines award for Travel and Food photography which made me one of the world’s 30 most influential travel bloggers. Winning a global award was a dream come true. I have also been featured in various International and national publications like Ceylon Today, Andros Now (Greek website), The Hindu, Sakal Times, etc.

10. Your advice to those who want to start a food blog?

Post regularly. Generate unique and engaging content and have patience. Don’t start if you only want to do a business out of it. You can do it and be successful only if you have a pure and natural passion for food. The benefits come years later.

Instagram Link: https://www.instagram.com/thecrazyindianfoodie/

Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/thecrazyindianfoodie/

 

 

From being a corporate HR to Baking The unique story of Samantha Lazaro The founder of Sweet Affair

  1. Hi Samantha, Welcome to the interview session of Anamitra’s Blog. To start with, we would request you to tell us a few lines about yourself.

My name is Samantha Lazaro. I come with around 20yrs of corporate experience with HR expertise. I found my hidden passion when I was trying to bake a mug cake and it has been a pleasant journey to where I have reached today.

2. How did you get started with baking? At what age did you bake your first cake?

For someone who had not entered the kitchen in 35 years A Baker is surely not what I ever envisioned myself as. At one point of time when I was trying to find a way to keep my mind occupied after I lost my mother I came across a mug cake recipe. Considering I had a basic microwave at home I decided to give it a shot, the satisfaction of it rising into a perfect little sweet treat was unbelievable. There has been no looking back after that.

3. How did you learn baking?

Most of my learning was online and through Facebook. While I started taking small orders, my appetite for this baking bug was not satisfied! With the support of my husband I decided to take the plunge quit my corporate job, completed a Diploma in Bakery & Patisserie at Bangalore affiliated to City & Guilds, London in flying colors. While the course did add value to understand the science behind baking, my learning has been and continues to be through social media mediums such as Facebook and training videos.

4. When did you decide to become a professional baker and start your baking business? What was the inspiration behind the decision?

Baking is an addiction it’s like breathing life into food. I haven’t been able to think of anything else other than baking from when I started. My husband was the driving force behind this huge plunge to follow my dream and my mother was the inspiration. She had a massive sweet tooth but was restricted because of health reasons. I am inspired every day to create a dessert that can caters irrespective of food restrictions/preferences.

5. Please tell us about your baking company Sweet Affair.

Food is an integral part of the Indian culture ~ food is celebration, food creates communities,  food is comfort in time of an unpleasant event and most importantly food is personal. And thus the name came to be because Sweet Affair is an affair between you and your taste buds!!
Another aspect of Sweet Affair is it’s aim provide desserts, irrespective of a person’s restrictions/preferences (eg: vegan, gluten free, keto etc.)

6. What are some of the challenging cake ideas that you performed till date?

Each cake comes with it’s own highs and challenge. However, a 5 tier wedding cake that I made last year would be one of my challenging yet exciting cakes to put together.

7. What are some of the signature products of your company? Which one is your personal favorite?

Banana Walnut Tea Cake, Brownies and Chocolate Truffle Cake would be my signature desserts and most selling too! I am a coffee lover and any coffee flavored cake/dessert would be among my favorites.

8. Being a baker, you must have had to overcome challenges. Please tell us about them.

Transportation of cakes continues to be a challenge. I am still working my way around them.

9. Narrate some of your success stories.

For someone who never entered the kitchen for 35 years, every cake that leaves my kitchen is nothing short of a success story.

10. What plans do you have to scale your business operations ?

My primary focus would be to increase customer base and focus further on customization.

11. Your advice to those who wish to take up baking as a profession?

Firstly and more importantly, if you moved from a corporate job, get used to not receiving a monthly salary. Secondly and most importantly, keep practicing its the only thing going to take you places.

12. If you have had one wish ?

I am already living my dream so all wishes have been fulfilled.

Facebook page link: https://www.facebook.com/thesweetaffairshop/

Instagram Link: www.instagram.com/thesweetaffairshop

Raksha Bandhan Dessert Recipes from Toshin Patisserie, The Ritz Carlton Bangalore, TYGR & KODE!

Recipe- Beyond the ozone

By Toshin Shetty, Chocolatiet & Patisier

Vanilla Sponge

195 g all purpose flour


30 g cornstarch


1⁄4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda


200 g granulated sugar


1⁄2 cup melted unsalted butter

250 ml thick buttermilk


1 tsp. vanilla essence.

For mango cream cheese layer

  • 75 gms mango pulp
  • 300 gms mascarpone cream cheese
  • 125 gms  35% whipping cream 
  • 5 gms agar agar flakes soaked in 1/2 cup water

For Mango Pulp.

Cut fresh 6 alphanso mangoes

100gms Sugar (for 1 kg Puree)

For  mangoFilling.

50 gms mango pulp

50 gms chopped mango

Yellow chocolate spray

20 g white chocolate

20 g cocoa butter

1 g yellow food color

Method


Vanilla Sponge

Pre heat oven to 190 ° C. 


Sieve all dry ingredients in one bowl. Give it a quick mix. 


Mix all wet ingredients in another bowl. 


Now pour wet ingredients to dry ones and whip it until no lumps, do not 
over mix. 


Spread onto baking tray and baked at 190 ° C for 10-15 min. Once cool cut it, according to size of the mould.

Mango Cheesecake

  • Heat 25 Gms of whipping cream and add agaragar.
  • Fold the mascarpone cheese and mango pulp
  • Fold the mascarpone cream cheese and the heated whipping cream agar agar mix.
  • Whip 100gms of whipping cream,
  • Fold the Whip cream with mango cream cheese mix.

Assembly (fromtop to bottom) 


  • Pipe in the Mango cheesecake in half way and set it in refrigerator.
  • Spoon the mango filling in between of the cheese cake mix which is half set.
  • Pipe the Mango cheesecake till the top; lay the vanilla sponge at the Top. and set it in the freezer till it is rock hard.
  • Demould it and spray the yellow chocolate spray on top and place a desired chocolate garnish.

Dish Name – Cream Paris Brest

Paris–Brest is a French dessert, made of choux pastry and a praline flavored cream.

Ingredients:

Praline paste

  • 75 g whole roasted hazelnut
  • 75 g whole roasted almond
  • 100 g sugar
  • 30 g water
  • Pinch of salt

Choux pastry

  • 125 g flour
  • 200g milk
  • 10 g sugar
  • 2 g salt
  • 80 g butter
  • 4 whole eggs

Praline mousseline cream

  • 480 g milk
  • 4 egg yolk
  • 70 g sugar
  • 20 g flour
  • 30 g starch
  • 15 g butter
  • 200 g praline paste
  • 150 g butter room temp

Method:

  • To make the choux pastry, preheat oven to 340 degrees. In a saucepan add milk, butter, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, and then remove from heat. Add the flour and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon. Return the pan to the heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat and let it cool for 2 minutes.
  • Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl, then add the pastry mix and whisk until smooth. Mixture should hold its shape when a finger is run through it. Transfer this into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip. Pipe 6 large balls inside each donut ring, making sure they meet up fully in a circle. Brush the tops with egg wash, and then bake for 25 minutes. Brush each pastry ring with egg wash again, and then sprinkle with almonds. Bake for another 5 minutes, and then place on a wire rack to cool.
  • To make the praline: Finely slice the hazelnuts and toast them for 5 minutes in a saucepan, then allow this to cool. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • In a saucepan, add the sugar and water. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a fast boil, keeping watch over it until it turns a dark amber color. Remove from heat and stir in the toasted nuts, then pour onto the parchment paper and allow cooling. Once cooled, blitz half of the praline to a fine powder in a spice grinder or food processor. Chop the remaining praline into small pieces and set aside.
  • To assemble: When the pastry is cool, cut each one into two pieces by slicing horizontally through the middle. Whip the cream to soft peaks then fold in the ground praline. Whip the cream again slightly, if needed, to bring it to a firm piping consistency, and transfer it into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe rosettes of cream all around the bottom half of the pastry, and then add a sprinkling of chopped pralines before adding the lid. Top with sliced almonds, dust with powdered sugar and serve.

About The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore:

The first Ritz Carlton hotel in India, the Ritz –Carlton, Bangalore is situated in the central business district providing expansive city views featuring 277 luxurious guest rooms and suites, 6 contemporary food and beverage venues, city’s only luxury roof top bar, unmatched and dedicated wellness floor, exceptional meeting rooms for large and medium sized events coupled with the legendary Ritz-Carlton personalized service. To learn more, please visit www.ritzcarlton/bangalore

Chocolate Fudge

TYGR: Chef Sahil Singh

Dish: Chocolate Fudge

Following is the recipe for 10 portions of Chocolate Fudge from TYGR.

Ingredient

  1. Dark Chocolate 700 g
  2. Cream 500 g
  3. Thyme 5 g
  4. Gelatin 8 g

Method

  1. Melt Chocolate on a double boil.
  2. Heat cream in a pan.
  3. Add melted Dark Chocolate
  4. Add thyme sprigs  
  5. Bloom Gelatin separately in hot water
  6. Take cream off heat and add gelatin.
  7. Pour into mould and allow to set in the refrigerator.


Fake Scramble Egg

KODE- Chef Momin Faqi

·       Base – Brioche bun half – fried in butter
·       Fake Egg white – white chocolate ganache
– Fake egg yolk –
·       Mango fruit purée (tin) + gulco (strong calcium)
·       Drop in sodium alginate bath (ratio – 1 ltr water + 7 gm sodium alginate)
– Ice cream batch –
·       4 ltr vanilla ice cream
·       1 ltr heavy cream
·       350 ml peach syrup
Dry ice shaving –
For assembly
·       Place brioche bread on a plate
·       Pour white chocolate ganache
·       Place mango sphere
·       Pour ice cream mix from an empty egg shell in a bowl then gradually add dry ice shaving to freeze the ice cream mix
·       Plate the ice cream around the fake fried egg

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