Meet self-taught Mumbai home baker who is now part of a Michelin-starred hotel in UK
Mumbai’s Stephanie Lobo moved from being a home baker in the city to a professional kitchen with sheer perseverance and hard work. The 33-year-old started with her home bakery Pixie Mojo in 2012 and today she’s part of the patisserie team at The Chester Grosvenor in England.more lifestyle Updated: Jan 21, 2018 09:25 IST
For Mumbai’s Stephanie Lobo, travel means heading to the best patisserie in town and trying out their finest desserts. So, when she was in Paris, she couldn’t get enough of the macarons and in San Francisco, she tasted the cruffin (croissant + muffin, duh!). So, when Lobo decided to quit her 9-to-5 marketing job, she started a home bakery called Pixie Mojo, Andheri, Mumbai in 2012.
Today, 33-year-old Lobo has gone a step ahead and moved out of her home kitchen to a Michelin starred one. She’s now part of the patisserie team at The Chester Grosvenor in Cheshire (England), a hotel which counts celebrities like Beyonce and Prince William and Kate Middleton on its frequent visitors list.
Watch: Stephanie Lobo’s Bakewell Tart
Lobo moved to the UK in 2015 with her husband. “It was tough to find a job in a kitchen as a novice, self-trained baker. I would chase chefs across restaurants and hotels with my bakes for them to try. I would chat up with them and ask them if they were looking for people,” she says. After two years of pop-ups, stages and working at a French restaurant called Chez Jules, Lobo managed to bag the Michelin starred gig. Ask any chef and they’ll tell you that it would be a dream job.
Though Lobo was always interested in baking, she never thought of doing it professionally until people started paying her for baking cakes. “I would always do the office catering, bake brownies for meetings and Christmas parties. At one point, people were offering me money and that’s when I decided to set up Pixie Mojo,” says Lobo, who’s done marketing for Vogue, India and the STAR network.
Life in the kitchen
Over the years, she honed her skills by googling recipes, perfecting them in her kitchen and trying out newer bakes. “When I started baking from home, I would always refer to Paul Hollywood’s books and look up recipes by Nigella Lawson. So, it was another dream come true, when I got to spend a day shooting with Hollywood himself last year. Because of his books I started my business and he was quite fascinated to know that there was someone in India who was following his recipes.”
Lobo spends up to 16 hours in the kitchen perfecting desserts like Pavlova, tarts and the classic British puddings. She’s mastered over 30 different kinds of desserts and 14 types of breads. “Though I haven’t been to a culinary school, I feel like I am equally good compared to my colleagues. Even my head chef says so, that’s got to be something, right?”
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First Published: Jan 21, 2018 09:24 IST