Having your cake and eating it too!
I am standing outside the FondArt Bakehouse factory in Lucknow, putting on a hairnet and shoe covers before India’s best pastry chef, Avijit Ghosh, allows me inside his kitchen. Knowing that his ingredients and creations must remain pristine, I am entirely cool with these rules. Rule 1 of any kitchen is that hygiene comes first.
To understand chef Avijit Ghosh is a process that involves several steps. A bite of one of his India-famous Belgian Chocolate Truffle cakes is the first step you must take. Dubbed ‘brand ambassador for chocolate’ by the legendary Barry Callebaut Belgium Chocolate Company, Ghosh has a shelf’s worth of honours to display. The FondArt Bakehouse, where he is a consultant chef, is thus a place worth exploring.
“The first objective when we decided to set up this bakery was to understand the target audience. Second, we wanted to ensure that the production would not be confined to one outlet but sufficient for future expansion in various verticals,” he explains as we walk around the factory.
Time to explore
In August 2020, Ghosh began his journey as a freelance chef with Bliss India Pvt Ltd, where his main objective was to upgrade their signature brand, Smoor.
“I thought this was the time to explore and look outside with different perspectives, so I didn’t want to start something of my own,” says Ghosh. As a freelancer, he also conducts bakery sessions for Bakedemy, which connects him with regular home bakers. And of course, he consults with Nidhi and Raag Verma for the recently-launched FondArt Bakehouse.
“Nidhi and I worked together for a couple of years in our previous organisation. We share a bond backed by trust and confidence. So when she started this venture she thought of me and I am happy to be associated with it. This was a completely different experience for me because we started from scratch,” says Ghosh.
Lucknow is Raag’s hometown, which is why the bakery is set up here. Nidhi, who has been in the industry for years, thought it was time to give Lucknow something new and unique, such as fondant cakes and the finest collection of pastries and breads.
To have set up like this, you need nothing but the best of everything, which is why Ghosh is also here. “Under Chef’s expert eye, we have set up a factory that is self-reliant and can effortlessly conduct manifold operations to fit with our plan is to expand within the city,” says Nidhi. “We also plan to establish different verticals, one of which is the FAB Indulgent Collection, specialising primarily in high-end dessert buffets for weddings and events.”
For Ghosh, who is known for the originality and excellence of his brand, it is a pleasure to nurture talented chefs such as Rajkumar Dass, who leads the team in Lucknow and was trained by Ghosh. Mentoring chefs like Dass is one way, Ghosh says, to uphold and maintain his own personal brand.
From HT Brunch, March 28, 2021
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