May 24, 2021 12:30:23 pm
For someone who has always found joy in food, it was only natural for home baker and cake artist Aditi Garware to leave a lucrative career in law to pursue her passion for baking. The 31-year-old, who is currently a contestant on Chef Vs Fridge on Zee Café’s original and a tune-in, judged by chef Vicky Ratnani and hosted by actor Gaurav Gera, is calling whipping up delicacies the “best feeling”.
Garware, whose Palace Cake reel trended on Instagram and Facebook earlier this year and has over three million views, is recognised as India’s top 10 cake artist by Cake Masters UK.
In an interview with indianexpress.com, Garware, who has been pursuing baking for the past six years, talks about her passion, her anti-gravity cakes, and what the pandemic has taught her.
Can you tell us about your journey?
On Sundays, my mom used to bake for us sisters. That was our favourite activity. She is a wonderful cook and has a lot of love and passion for food. My sister is a chef, and my biggest inspiration. She has always inspired me to create out-of-the-box desserts and to follow my passion. Cooking with both of them has always been a stress buster and so much fun. I have always been curious about food, and especially about the science of baking and that led me into it and organically I fell in love with the art.
From law to baking — how did the transition happen?
I have always been an artistic kid with a lot of love for food. Coming from a regular middle-class family, academics were always the first preference, and baking was considered to be a hobby. After scoring well in my 12th boards, I got through one of the most prestigious law schools in India (ILS Law College, Pune). My parents were the happiest and I decided to take it up. I studied hard, worked sincerely and tried my best to embrace it. But soon realised that I was missing out on the colours of creativity. With a double grad degree in law, my career cartwheeling was nothing less than a rollercoaster ride! I gave up on a lucrative job as a lawyer to pursue my passion for baking and desserts. I was considered stupid, crazy and insane! I had a lot to prove. I worked day in and day out like a maniac. I couldn’t waste a day. I wanted my dream so badly as a baker. And here I am…all smiles now.
Who do you consider your biggest inspiration?
My mom and my sister are my biggest inspiration and strength. They have taught me to dream, fly and love food with all my heart. My family has been my biggest support system and they inspire me every single day. They are my biggest critics. In the field of baking, my biggest inspiration is chef Pooja Dhingra, who is a superwoman and has fought all the odds to achieve her dreams. She is a chef par excellence and has always broken barriers to bring India to the international stage. She has inspired so many women like me to dream big.
Do you think the culture of baking has changed amid the pandemic?
The culture of baking has changed a lot amid pandemic. A lot of home bakers have emerged and are doing wonders. Pandemic has given us time to perceive our passion which otherwise we wouldn’t in our busy lives. It has given an opportunity to everyone to showcase their talent, and social media has played a very vital role in this. Baking, which was earlier related to culinary schools and cafes, is now a household activity. I would take this pandemic positively as I myself got a lot of time to research and to try out desserts which otherwise I wouldn’t due to my busy schedule.
What’s your anti-gravity cake all about?
As a kid, I used to watch a lot of cake shows on the television which would feature humongous cakes and the entire process behind them. I used to be intrigued by these shows, and the technique and method used by the cake artists would fascinate me. I used to always wonder why we don’t have such cakes available in the Indian market. The artist in me would always make me more and more curious about gravity-defying the cakes and the science behind them.
When I took my career plunge as a baker, I knew that I would be doing something unique and will introduce not just cakes but edible pieces of art to my city, to my country. I trained with a lot of international chefs to learn this coveted art and practiced hard to nail it. It wasn’t easy as no one initially would order such whimsical cakes from me. But I kept creating anti-gravity structured cakes and never gave up!
A few years ago, my Candy land topsy-turvy cake was appreciated so much by the audience that it became the face of my brand. I never ever thought that it would absolutely change my career course and give a new dimension to my cake artistry. Since then, there is no looking back and I have gone on creating award-winning anti-gravity cakes.
What is the idea behind participating in Chef vs Fridge?
I want to challenge myself and my style of work and also prove to the world that I am way more than only cakes. My baking style is very aesthetic and art-oriented and a lot of people feel that I can only do cakes but I want to prove to everyone that I have a lot to offer. Chef vs. Fridge is also giving me a platform to reach out to the women in every household and to inspire them to chase their dreams. I have been creating content on social media but the show would give me the right platform to reach a wider audience and help me promote baking and cake artistry in India.
How have you been coping with the pandemic?
The pandemic actually gave me a good opportunity to try my hand at various cuisines. During the pandemic, every day I was cooking something different, which was actually like a stress buster. Right from Indian to Thai to continental to street food, I had a ball of a time cooking.
Do you have a sweet tooth?
I love baking, I love plating and then I love eating what I create. I think my entire family is a big foodie and has got a sweet tooth. Desserts with mangoes are our biggest weakness!
Many people suggest baking is therapeutic. Is it so?
Absolutely! Baking is therapy. You completely forget all your worries. My style of baking is not very rigid. I give myself a free flow of thoughts as well as experiment with my methods. I never stick to something that pushes me into following a particular method or procedure. I am instinctive and follow my heart; that gives me immense joy and happiness and in return, my entire baking time is fun-filled.
How do you deal with bake-fails?
I deal with them with a smile. Bake fails are nothing but experiments that teach you a lot. You learn from them and keep that in mind and don’t make the same mistake again. If you don’t make mistakes, you will never learn.
What’s your future plan?
My vision is to take baking into every household of India and to inspire housewives/ homemakers/ women to be on their own physically, mentally, and financially. I wish to reach them with the help of online workshops. Baking empowers me and I’m sure baking will empower thousands of women across the country. It will give them a voice to have their own identity. I wish to start a baking institute where I can train baking enthusiasts and help them achieve their dreams. I also wish to start a dessert bar that would be home to fusion desserts.
What cake trends are here to stay, and why?
I think the pull me up/tsunami cake trend is here to stay. The technique behind it is very simple so most of the bakers across the country can attempt this trend successfully. Also, pull-me cakes can be made in various flavours and they are sinful and delicious. So, absolutely a win-win for the bakers as well as the clients.
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