Monisha Sudakar, the founder of Pastry Maniaa, is a talented, young home baker in Chennai. She is also the recipient of Zomato’s Best Home Baker Award for the year 2015. Monisha is only 20 years old, and she graduated in Sociology from Stella Maris College this year. If you ask her to choose between a corporate job or baking as a profession, she would pick the latter option any day. Even if you wake her up from sleep and ask this question, Monisha’s answer wouldn’t change. This reflects the young home baker’s confidence in her abilities. Undoubtedly the confidence has developed because of the appreciations that she receives from her customers for the beautiful cakes that she bake.
The young girl Monisha Sudakar joins us in this interview session today from Chennai. In this conversation, the proud founder of Pastry Maniaa shares her story.
Hi Monisha, welcome to this interview session of conflatingVisions. To begin with, we would like you to say a few lines about yourself.
Hey, I am Monisha Sudakar from Pastry Maniaa. I am 20, and I am a home baker from Chennai. I completed my Bachelors in Sociology from Stella Maris College. Baking for me is my passion, and it has now become my career.
At what age did you bake something for the first time? How was the experience?
I first baked a cake when I was 14. I was so excited because we had bought a new oven and the recipe book which came along had a chocolate cake recipe and that was my first motivation to bake.
What motivated you to become a professional baker?
Pooja Dhingra’s book The Big Book of Treats and her Le 15 Patisserie, Mumbai was the biggest motivating factor for me to start baking at the professional level.
Please tell us about your baking venture Pastry Maniaa.
Pastry Maniaa, a home bakery in Chennai which is run and managed single-handedly be me. I started Pastry Maniaa in November 2014. My Mother and my friends help me complete my huge orders for cakes and desserts in times. We have a wide variety of impeccable desserts at affordable costs and we have a swift city wide delivery. We bake egg and egg free desserts and our jar cakes have always been a standout in the menu.
Monisha, what are some of the signature items of Pastry Maniaa? Which one is your personal favourite?
Signature dessert, without any thinking it’s the red velvet truffle. It’s also my personal favourite.
What are some of the challenging cake designs that you have done so far?
I take up each and every cake as a challenge so that I would put my best to give my customers something which will bring them back! Being a self-taught baker, tier cakes are my biggest challenges from stacking them to transporting them to the customers’ location!
Commerce and creativity both are integral part of a business. Monisha, tell us how do you handle both these aspects of your business?
Yes, for sure commerce and creativity are an integral part of a business. At times, I become a Chartered Accountant and manage all the accounts and at times I become the most creative person on earth by thinking on how to make a cake which will look like biriyani and taste like biriyani because biriyani is my first love!! But still understanding the customers’ need and getting creative according to the theme needs a lot of time. Handling these both together with a little bit of patience and thinking would be enough.
Narrate some of your success stories.
Winning the Best Home Baker award from Zomato for the year 2015 was the biggest achievement till date in my baking career. Other than that, the articles in newspapers and magazines have also been a great achievement for me.
Please share some baking tips that you find beneficial.
First, I would say have the belief in your recipe, use baking ingredients in room temperature, pre-heat the oven first and don’t compromise in quality and quantity of the baking ingredients.
What are the challenges you are facing at present? How do you plan to overcome them?
The challenges at present are the competition with the new growing home bakers. It’s a friendly competition.
To overcome this challenge, I never compromise and keep on giving my best.
What are your future plans for Pastry Maniaa?
A small cute cafe in the city!
If you are given an option to fix a failure of yours, what would you do?
I wouldn’t call it a failure; rather I was a little late in finding what I wanted to do. So, I would have taken up a proper pastry course from a leading college and would have become a travel pastry chef.
A career as a full-time baking professional or some corporate job. What would be your choice in the near future Monisha?
If you wake me up in the middle of my sleep also, the answer would be baking as a profession and nothing else.
Anything else you want to share…
Always follow your passion and choose a job you love. You will never have to work a day in your life!
And, one last question of this session Monisha, if you have had one wish…
If I had one wish, it would be a house full of baking supplies (what more can make a baker happy!). Just kidding!!