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How about baking as a career in India? Get ready to take notes from experts

Chef Sidharth Bhardwaj is doling out Baking 101 advice, and you better get ready with that pen and paper

Rachna Srivastava SPIN_occhio 12 June 2018, 2:01 PM
Give your love for baking a career twist

Give your love for baking a career twist Image: Thinkstock

Steve Winwood sang Bring me a higher love back in the '80s, and foodies worldwide who had pie on their minds misheard it as “Bake me a pie of love”. We belong to that group of people, even though we were not born then. From muffins to pies to cakes to blondies to biscuits to shortcakes to crisps, you name it and we are fans of any kind of baked product. But we are on the eating end of it. Are you on the making end?

It's 2018 and baking is a full-fledged career. In fact, in our humble opinion, baking has been a career for people since centuries, but the due progression as a passion-meets-money-making process is a very millennial thing. 

Sometimes, we might just opt for baking as a hobby for its calming and therapeutic purpose. It may have been an unconventional career option once, but that's no longer the case.

Bake, bake, bake..

Bake, bake, bake.. GIF: Giphy

Millions of people now want to take their passion, hone it and earn their bread (all puns intended). Do you wish to pursue a career in the field and want to know how to go about it? Then it's time to take notes as executive chef Sidharth Bhardwaj of JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Grove Resort & Spa is doling out career advice on baking, and we believe it will come very handy.

How is baking as a career now as compared to 20 years ago?

Twenty years ago, who would have thought of having edible pictures on their cake or that nitrogen would be used in food. Today, it is possible. From edible ink to edible decorative in any shape or form, technology has taken over a lot of the work and reduced the stress. From hand kneading and checking the oven time and again for the bread to bake, we now have machines for kneading and ovens with a timer and alarm so you no longer have to bear the suspense.

Plus, there is no limitation to creativity. We encourage our chefs to try to innovate with their bakery products. Earlier, these products were limited to breads, cakes and cookies. Now, besides the variety of products available, there are also a number of healthier bakery product versions that have been introduced. For example, you can have gluten-free products, healthy oatmeal or bran cookies or healthier versions of cake like banana cake or dates cake.

The rising dough is one of the most calming sights

The rising dough is one of the most calming sights GIF: Giphy

How lucrative is baking as a career option in India?

There are multiple job opportunities for bakers in India. Most bakers enter the profession as apprentices or on-the-job trainees at commercial bakeries, patisseries or supermarkets under the guidance of an experienced baker or chef. This helps them gain exposure in the baking profession and with their on-the-job training, they can become full-fledged bakers as soon as they learn the art of food handling and other baking techniques. With the number of hotel chains opening in the country, there are many opportunities for bakers to hone their skills and grow in the field.

There are a lot of people who are interested in baking, but they never take it up as a career and are happy with it being a hobby. Your thoughts?

I believe there are no limits to a career in baking. As compared to the past, baking now has many options for individuals to explore. For example, they can open a standalone bakery, work in a bakery division of a hotel/ restaurant or take up a job in baking overseas. If one gets the opportunity, they should certainly turn their hobby into a career and work towards improving their baking skills and learning newer techniques.

Baking is more than just a hobby

Baking is more than just a hobby GIF: Giphy

Tips you want to give someone who is interested in taking up baking as a career?

First of all, one should be passionate. They should be creative and innovative and ready to take up challenges. At times, one can work using fusion techniques but at times you have to stick to the recipe. Always be good and accurate with measurements

What are the thrilling and the not-so-thrilling-moments of the profession?

The thrills of this career are many — getting your creativity flowing and innovating with new recipes is one of the highs. A not-so-thrilling moment can be when you have to follow recipes rather than use your creativity or own recipes.

Suppose a school student has interest in the field, how does s/he go about carving out a career in baking?

S/he must get a degree or a certificate course in bakery and confectionery programmes or a degree in Hotel Management. During their IT (Industrial Training), individuals should opt for bakery as it will give them exposure to the real industry and they will get to know how the industry works.

What are the institutes you would recommend where they can hone their skills?

  • IHM, Pusa
  • International Institute of Culinary Arts, New Delhi
  • Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, Manipal
  • IHM, Aurangabad

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