I Dreamt of INDULGE!!!
As we are nearing the end of The Write Tribe Festival Of Words #6, our entry for DAY 6 is an excerpt of an interview we had published earlier on our blog. We interviewed FAY ALMEIDA, pastry chef and Owner of INDULGE CAKES (http://indulgebakes.com/). Read on to know more about Fay, the Chef, the Entrepreneur, a determined and passionate soul, the Woman behind INDULGE….. A She HERO!
At what age did you start baking and cooking and when did you realize that ‘Oh, I am a good cook!!’?
I started cooking after my marriage, at the age of 24. It was only because my husband is a foodie and I love him(almost blushing!!). That’s when I realized that I can cook.
What was the first cake that you baked?
The first cake that I baked was the Choco Coconut Walnut Cake. I made in the oven that was gifted to me by my friend. After that I was hooked on to the oven.
Have you taken any formal training in cooking or baking?
The only training that I have taken is for cake decoration. It was a three day training. At the end of the training my teacher told me that I should not continue because she thought that I was very bad at it. That day I decided to never look back.
What does baking/cooking mean to you?
OMG!!! I am obsessed with baking!! It is my life. It is my calling. All the television or reading that I do is only about baking and cooking.
Who is your inspiration?
My family! They have been my supporting pillars, helping me to keep up the rest of my life secure and functioning. My team, who inspires me to do better everyday as they strive for it too. Indulge is the sum of my family at home, at work and my customers!!
How was “Indulge” your cake shop born?
After my son was 5 years old, I wanted to do something. I always believed in serving people. But was confused with the choices that I had. One day, I decided to put three chits into a bowl with three names written on it. Indulge was born as a “Lucky Draw” from those 3 choices.
What were the challenges that you faced during your start up?
My biggest challenge was that people said, “In Mulund we cant sell cakes”. I used to live in one BHK apartment, hence space was also a challenge. The first six months in Indulge went mainly into research of different types of cakes. I use to bake cakes daily and distribute them to my friends and family.
How is your typical day at work?
There is nothing typical about my work. The factory opens at 9 am.
I basically have 5 sections; Baking, Icing, Sugar work, Finishing and Account section. The first thing that I do is meet all my employees at each section and talk to them about the day. Scheduling is very important for me. Then, I got into Logistics. Now a days, I am more into Logistics than into baking. And each week we try and innovate new flavours. Like today we tried a Vegan Cake with Almond Butter Frosting.
What is the best compliment you have received for your baking?
There was a sms sent by my husband’s friend. I had sent him my Chocolate Bomb Cake (slurppp!!!). The sms read, “Here is an artist par excellence”.
Was there any occasion where you goofed up on a large order at the last minute? How did you cover it up?
Oh there are many…We are finally humans. Mistakes can happen. Logistical blunders do occur.
If you had to select that one cake….Which would you select as your favorite cake to bake? Why?
I love to bake Pound Cakes. The Vanilla and the Chocolate Pound. I love mixing the batter and checking when the cake is out of the oven. My favourite fragrance in the world!!! It is proven that Bakers are the happiest people on earth. You can take out all your frustration beating the batter. (Grin covered all over her face)
Which is your best selling cake?
The Double Dutch Truffle Cake. So much so, that I wanted to name my shop “The Double Dutch Truffle Place”.
What are the qualities that are required to become a pastry chef?
Sheer perseverance…because skill can be developed but attitude is what we need to have. Believing that you can do it. Just focus and believe in yourself.
Why are Indians so skeptical about using an oven in their kitchen?
Its mainly electrical device that scares people. But things are changing.
Your story is very inspiring to all the Indian Women who are so talented and passionate about their dreams but are unable to come out of their shell due to various reasons. What advise would you like to give them?
In my opinion when life hands you an opportunity, you make the most of it. Nobody can tell you this is what you should do. You should feel like doing it. Finally it’s not the money. My Joy is my money and my bread. I am able to touch so many peoples life through my passion ….that is my earning.
Can you please share your one secret about baking which not many are aware of?
Firstly always use your ingredients at room temperature. Secondly do not over mix the batter of a cake especially after you have added the flour.
Easy substitute of egg to make a cake for all our vegetarian cake lovers?
Oh there are many …. Condensed milk, curd etc. My favourite is Flax seed . Take one tablespoon of ground flax seed and add 3 tablespoon of water. This will be a substitute for 1 egg. Soak for 15 mins and it is ready to use. It is healthy too.
Sathya is a physiotherapist by profession, dancer and singer by passion, always full of energy and enthusiasm.
I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words #6