- 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