Of late, there’s been a food revolution in the city. It would suffice to say that now, everyone’s a food photographer (courtesy Instagram), a food blogger (posting amateur reviews online) and a budding baker (posting pictures of their creations on social media).
The lattermost phenomenon, it turns out, has been taken seriously by weekend chefs and homemakers, who were so far only catering to their family and friends. We’ve found that a number of young women are even quitting their jobs to pursue their culinary passions.
From engineers to radio jockeys, here are some women who have recently felt this ‘knead’.Shivani Tolia, Yellow Butterfly
Former profession: Interior designer
Best-selling product: Strawberry Butter (`225 for 250 gm) and Roasted Pepper Dip (`200 for 250 gm)
Tolia says her company came about inadvertently as she is a food blogger with a passion for vegetarian cooking. This interest was kick-started last October, on a small scale, when her friends started placing orders. "Earlier, I used to make baked dishes, Thai curry with rice etc, but now I’ve been doing only dip-and-chip platters. I also make gift hampers and cater for small events," Tolia says. On the menu are mostly dips and hummus in flavours like walnut, pesto and red pepper. Tolia’s prices start at `150 for 250 gm for dips and go up to `350 for the Walnut Hummus. So, what’s cooking right now? "I’m looking at ways to increase production and the shelf life of my products. I want to test the retail market too," she says.
Richa Lulla, Knead With Love
Former profession: IT (Senior programmer)
Best-selling product: Garlic Herb Crispies (`185 for 150 gm), Brownie Cookies (`250 per dozen) and Cheesecake Squares (`60 each).
Another blogger, Lulla decided to quit her 9-to-5 job after a year of posting recipes online and baking in her free time. This May, she started off with only a cookie menu and gradually added individual-portion desserts such as mousse and panna cotta shots, cheesecake squares and even savoury items like quiches and crackers. Her prices are as low as `25 for a mini profiterole. A cheesecake for two would cost about `180. “I’ve taken the first step of moving from a home-based bakery to a kitchen set-up in Goregaon. I hope to increase the scale of my business,” says Lulla.
Jharna Rohra, House of Dips
Former profession: Banker
Best-selling product: Tzatziki (`160 for 250 gm) and Roasted Red Pepper and Jalapeno Dip (`240 for 250 gm)
A qualified engineer, Rohra quit her job to start making low-calorie dips last November. “My home was the ultimate party place in college, and I realised that a host never does full justice to appetisers since all the preparation time goes into making mains and desserts. Dips have always been overshadowed by chips, and have been stereotyped for too long by the salsa and hummus genre,” she says. Her specialties include Tzatziki, Spinach and Artichoke, and Cold Mushroom dips, all of them priced between `160-240. Rohra is currently working with a nutritionist on customising dips according to special diet needs for her customers. She’s also looking at retail sales channels to broaden the reach of her brand.
Amrita Rana, Life Ki Recipe
Former profession: Radio jockey
Best-selling product: OMG Bacon Jam (`300 for 275 gm)
Popularly known as ‘that Bacon Jam girl’, Rana started Life Ki Recipe after various blogging and kitchen experiments and even a year-long stint as a radio jockey. “I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, so I started checking up on what was not available in the market. Onion Marmalade was my first creation,” she says. A little later, she was egged on to try making Bacon Jam by a friend, who had tried it elsewhere, and labelled it “life changing.” Now, the item is a bestseller, and bacon is the core ingredient of several of her offerings like Bacon Butter and Salted Caramel with Bacon. The latest introductions to Rana’s roster include Coffee BBQ Sauce and Mushroom Paté.