The demand for home baked cakes in Kolkata is on the rise. And, this has become possible because of the growing numbers of talented home bakers in Kolkata. Sumana Dutta Chakrabarti is one such cake artist from Kolkata. Sumana, an HR professional working in an IT MNC, baked a cake for the first time while she was still in school. The love for baking intensified in the next few years. In 2015, Sumana started her own home bakery under the name Mom’s Delight!
Today, Sumana Dutta Chakrabarti, the founder of Mom’s Delight, joins us in this interview session with conflatingVisions to share her story!
Hi Sumana, welcome to this interview session of conflatingVisions. To start with, please tell us a few lines about yourself.
I am an HR professional presently working with an IT MNC. I am a professional with an experience of almost 20 years in my kitty. I am blessed with 2 wonderful sons and I owe my success of my baking endeavour to my family where my husband and kids are the main tasters initially.
How did you get into baking?
I am baking since I was in school though it was only pound cake. Since childhood the decorated cakes in the bakery window and the smell when you enter one used to fascinate me. Even I had a dream of taking hotel management degree and being a pastry chef. But life took other turn and I landed in the Corporate world. But the passion in me made me find a way to learn and nurture my dream in a smaller way. Over time, I was baking for my first official order.
When did you decide to become a professional home baker?
I used to bake for my family and friends initially but then one day someone from a friend’s group offered to pay for it as she did not just want a store bought cake. And the feedback I received was just beyond my expectation. That lady started ordering regularly and also word of mouth then after got me going and I started Mom’s Delight.
Please tell us about Mom’s Delight.
Mom’s Delight happened at a time when I was struggling with the grief of my Mom’s demise. Being so close to my mom, I was not being able to cope up with the loss. I underwent sleepless days at times and took up baking as it relaxes and soothes me always.
Before starting baking for family and friends again, I took a short baking course. I got my first baking order in June 2015 and the feedback that I received made me think about it seriously. Mom’s Delight happened then after in August 2015 and I started living again. Being a Mom it is always my first priority to get best available quality food for my kids and for my venture. I focus on getting the best quality raw materials available in the market and serve the quality product free from any preservatives. Everything that I do is from scratch so there is no processed off the shelf ready mix in my products and neither the hygiene of the product gets compromised. I process my filling from local seasonal fruits myself and do not like off the shelf products for the same.
How was your feeling when you got your first professional cake order?
One of my friends wanted a cake at short notice but did not want a store bought one. She was very specific about the personal touch. And I delivered the same in 4 hours time. I was so thrilled with the feeling that my products can be sold. The feedback and then after repeated orders from her boosted my confidence and my venture took baby steps in the world of so many talented home bakers.
How is the demand for home baked cakes in Kolkata?
In Kolkata, I used to think Cake means Monginis, Kathleen or Flurys. But nowadays people are aware and also conscious about the quality of the cake they are ordering for their special moments.
I believe home bakers in Kolkata are booming as they are giving quality product and every cake has got their own personal attention and touch which is lacking in normal store bought cakes. Though Kolkata is still lagging behind than other Indian metros, the city, however, is catching up very fast.
How do you go about innovating on the cake baking recipes?
Every cake is my baby. From a sketchy idea to bring the final product into life keeping the client’s preferences and likings in mind is a project. And it thrills me like the first day still even after crossing more than 350 cakes. With the cake design in mind, I breathe, live and dream it till I complete it to my satisfaction
What are some of the signature products of Mom’s Delight? Which one is your personal favourite?
We specialize in both with egg and eggless cakes and bakes. My best sellers are Wicked Chocolate Cake, not so traditional Black Forest, Chocolate Mud Cake, White Forest Cake, Red Velvet with White Chocolate frosting, Cream of Caramel with a hint of salt etc.
Though my personal fav is triple Chocolate Mousse and of course Wicked Chocolate Cake. My USP is I never compromise on chocolate quality and I use original coverture chocolate or Belgian chocolate for all my chocolate products so the taste is unquestionable.
What are some of the challenging cake designs that you have done so far?
Every cake is a new challenge and that’s the spark of life. You name it and I do it that’s the kind of approach I have with my clients.
As a home baker, what are the challenges in life?
In Kolkata, we hardly get good baking tutors from whom we can learn new techniques so largely we have to depend on youtube or travel to other metros to learn. I am blessed to learn from some of the masters of the industry but still have a long list of teachers whom I wish to learn.
Sumana, please share some baking tips.
You need to be sure of your calling for being a baker. It’s not an easy life meeting deadlines and pressure and all the more you need to be very sensitive as your product is making someone’s special moments all the more special. So be dedicated and love your work. Always remember practice makes it perfect so practice hard and hone your skills. Keep yourself updated and be honest in your work.
What are your future plans?
I would love to have my own studio and my own outlet some day.
And one last question of this session Sumana, if you have had one wish…
Getting taught in my dream Culinary Institute in Paris Le Cordon Bleu and get Advanced Patisserie Diploma. Keeping my fingers crossed and hope to touch my dream someday.