Since 2011, Swati K Soni, a home baker in Mumbai is successfully running her home baking venture That’s The Story. The name of her venture is beautiful and so are its products. The 54% chocolate expresso slice, burnt caramel pannacotta with pistachio, egg free crème brulée and pistachio shortbread are some of the signature items of That’s The Story. Swati considers her Mother to be her biggest inspiration who introduced her to the world of baking. At the age of 14, Swati attempted to bake for the first time to surprise her family members. However, it turned out to be a complete disaster. The output was a black mass of brick solid inedible block instead of a beautiful cake! Although it was disappointing, the young baker in her, however, didn’t lose hope.
Swati K Soni has walked a long way since then and has scripted a couple of success stories for herself. Over the past 5 years, Swati K Soni’s That’s The Story has gained much popularity among the cake lovers in Mumbai. Today, Swati joins us in this session to share her story!
Hi Swati, welcome to conflatingVisions. To begin with, please introduce yourself to our readers.
Hi! First of all thank you, I am delighted to be interviewed by conflatingVisions! I am Swati K Soni, a passionate baker and an avid traveller. It all began with me licking the batter off a spoon when my Mom used to bake cakes during my school summer vacations. The entire process from the beating of batter and sugar to the final cake seemed so magical to me, and it still does!
Being a vegetarian, eggs were to be dropped from the recipe. Thus started my pursuit of egg-free and gelatine free baking. Amazing feedback from friends, family and clients moulded my pursuit into my profession and I am thankful to my family for their unwavering support in my not so conventional choice of profession since the start!
Is it your Mom who introduced yourself to the world of baking?
Yes, my Mom introduced me to this world of baking! She is a fabulous cook and a baker herself and my go-to guide for baking.
How was your first baking experience? Did everything went right?
Well frankly, it was a complete disaster! I was just 14 and wanted to surprise my family with a cake baked all by myself. Everything went well till the batter went in the oven and then the sweet smell of vanilla turned into the smell of something horribly burnt. I had, in all my excitement, put the cake in micro mode for 25 mins, and what I got was a black mass of brick solid inedible block. Well thankfully, I have come a long long way since that day!
Swati, tell us about your baking venture That’s the Story. What is the story behind the beautiful name of your baking venture?
I believe that we all have stories worth celebrating in a special way. TTS wishes to be a part of all such special stories!
I like experimenting with my baking and taking inspiration from international desserts and flavors and infuse them with my personal secret sauce. TTS is also my endeavour at bringing out the stories behind my bakes, their origins, the source of raw materials, the method and style of preparation and developing newer flavors for the evolving and demanding Indian palate.
Tell us about your baking workshops.
Baking workshops were a result of numerous positive feedback, queries and requests to start teaching all my egg free and gelatine free bakes. I like taking only small batches so that my workshops remain personal and interactive plus hands-on. The popularity of my workshops went viral by word-of-mouth and Facebook, with Instagram adding the extra zing!
How do you try to be creative in terms of baking?
I like taking inspiration from all the food that I have during my travels, the books I read and the internet, combining different flavors and styles, giving them my touch, and making them egg and gelatine free.
What are some of your signature items?
The 54% chocolate expresso slice, burnt caramel pannacotta with pistachio, egg free crème brulée and pistachio shortbread.
Narrate some of your success stories.
Conducting baking workshops in Dubai and Sharjah in 2014 remains one of my biggest success stories. The open workshop on Mother’s Day wherein all the proceeds went to an orphanage is also an event very close to my heart. And so is knowing that every order, every participant and every feedback has brought a smile and made somebody’s story special.
Swati, how has the decision to take up baking as your profession influenced your life?
I am a person who needs constant creativity to keep me going. My baking journey has been very exciting so far. From interning under one of the best pastry chefs in India in 2014 to being invited for the What’s Hot Tasting session by Rashmi Uday Singh along with being a panelist sharing my entrepreneurial journey at the Young Food Entrepreneurs Conference in 2016, I have personally learnt and matured a lot.
I love that no two days are the same and the feeling of waking up to do what I enjoy doing the most is just icing on the cake!
How challenging is baking as a profession for you?
More than a challenge, baking has been constant learning for me. It’s an art and a science that calls for immense discipline and teaches you to be patient. I enjoy recipe testing, and though not all recipes are a success the first time, I learn from each attempt. It’s a process I enjoy and it keeps me going.
However, I feel it is a challenge to explain the price point to clients, who most of the times compare made-to-order products with local bakeries, or with other home bakers in the industry who under sell their products, without comparing the inputs that go into making bespoke preparations. I wish there was better awareness and understanding.
What are your future plans for That’s The Story?
Opening my baking studio is definitely in the pipeline, along with plans of expanding my workshop base to other cities pan-India.
I also wish to open a dedicated supply store for bakery related products, sourcing good quality raw materials locally, wherever possible.
Some baking tips that you would like to share with us…
Ingredients! I cannot stress enough on the emphasis of using good quality and fresh ingredients, which may not necessarily be expensive and/or imported, as it goes a long way in producing the most delicious preparations.
Also try to give your personal touch to baking instead of just following recipes, as that’s what will set you apart from the rest.
And, one final question of this session Swati, if you have had one wish…
Woah! Definitely travel the world on a dessert trail! I hope my genie is listening!!