Food happened by accident to Chef Gauri Varma who had a terrible personal experience back in 2013, despite taking all the measure and steps to ensure that the end product was what she wanted - this was a massive fail which got her thinking that there is a huge vacuum in this industry between what she wanted and what she got to add. Excerpts from the interview:
We see that Indians have matured when it comes to consuming bakery and bakery products. What has given this sudden change in consumption?
Bakery has always been a part of our daily needs since the inception of this industry - it's one that has grown out of need - for instance we have always had bread and cookies with tea as far back as we can remember. It's become bigger, gotten more recognition and more people who have genuinely realised the importance as well as the necessity of this sector. Today it is the fastest growing segment within the industry. Also, with the increased exposure to netflix, movies, amazon prime and in general being one of the youngest nations in the world - we have a long way to go - but the road ahead looks promising to say the least.
Tell us something about G’s Patisserie and confect. With whom you are competing in the segment?
To be honest, my biggest competition is unregulated imported products that are coming into the country - products in this segment are being imported for more than a decade and sadly trading companies and not brands are establishing this industry's benchmarks. I’m in the cake decorating raw materials segment today and the reason was that there are only SUBSTANDARD products being sold even today products that are not fit for our weather storage or environmental conditions; the battle is against 'imported better'
From chefs like Pooja Dhingra to Vinesh Johnny, who have completely changed the bakery industry in India. What new innovation can we see from you?
Like them I too have made great strides in ensuring we get an international standard quality product within India for this industry. I have managed to successfully stand tall against most of the leading importers and have been voted as the best product in the country in my segment. I run India's only chef headed manufacturing company of bakery and confectionery cake decorating ingredients. We are doing a better job quality and safety wise than any other in the segment in the country. I would be the first chef to put India on the map for exports within this category of product.
What according to you would be the biggest bakery trend in the near future?
Cakes for every occasion, we would creep into the mithai and traditional India sweets segment and soon see bakery items in each and every kirana store
When did you know that you wanted to be a bakery queen?
It's humbling to be nicknamed the fondant queen in India - I strive towards a good product and quality - something I find safe to feed my own child. I feel I am on the right track but still have a long way to go.
What are some baking tools that pastry chefs can't do without?
So many! My set of palette knives would be the first followed by my rolling pin - since it is something I use the most!
How has the pandemic affected your business?
The pandemic has grown the business, more home bakers have risen during this year. People want a quality product today and don't want to waste money on gimmicks or just cheap alternatives. There has definitely been a shift in the mental focus as far as consumers are based and it not always 'cheaper is best' home bakers as a segment has risen the fastest in this industry
What’s your plan expanding the brand?
Dominate each state and then export worldwide.