She is a creator of delightfully rich treats, and baking for gourmands is her passion. Always surrounded by gluttonous temptations, she chose baking over Physics honours and her off- beat pâtisserie, Miam, is taking the pastry industry by a storm. Meet the dessert aficionado, an accomplished chef, Le Cordon Bleu trained, Bani Nanda.
DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO BE A CHEF?
Not really, I did Physics honours in college and I always wanted to do biochemistry but then, I changed my mind and pursued baking as a career.
AND, WHAT KIND OF SUPPORT DID YOU GET AT HOME? WAS THERE ANY SORT OF RESISTANCE FROM YOUR PARENTS?
My mom has always been a home baker, she always baked really yummy cakes at home, I think my passion for baking has come from there. However, my mom got a shock as it was a complete switch of careers but they were very supportive and really encouraged me.
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION FROM?
I love to travel, so I draw inspiration from travelling and things around me. Also, I have always watched my mom baking and that sort of inspired me.
BEING A WOMAN, HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE WOMEN EMPOWERMENT?
I think it is very important not only for women but also men to be 100 percent financially independent, so I feel if you attain that, you are automatically empowered.
YOU STUDIED IN FRANCE, HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS PARTICULAR COUNTRY, IS IT BECAUSE IT’S FAMOUS FOR PASTRY MAKING?
I’ll be very honest, I was looking for a culinary programme and my grandfather happened to have a close relative living there, he was adamant that I must go to Paris. So, it was just sort of decided and they were very keen to send me abroad to get exposure. My parents wanted me to go and experience what it is like to be on your own and have a perspective of things. And, of course, then I came back with that sort of exposure.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE, DO YOU THINK THERE IS A PARTICULAR KIND OF STYLE THAT YOU CARRY ALL THE WHILE?
I do have a personal style but it really depends on my mood. Sometimes it’s hipster, sometimes it’s very chic, sometimes it’s formal like it keeps changing and it’s not fixed.
YOU STUDIED IN PARIS, DO YOU THINK IT’S EASIER TO BE A WOMAN ABROAD THAN IN INDIA OR DO YOU THINK TIMES ARE CHANGING
Yes, times are changing, I have very progressive parents and they have always encouraged me to be successful. Hard work is the key to doing that. So, I think times are really changing.
WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE TO ALL THE WOMEN WHO AIM TO EARN A PLACE FOR THEMSELVES IN THE CULINARY INDUSTRY?
I just think that women should actually follow their dream or passion. They should have the courage to make a career out of it and work hard towards to it.
*As published in HT City & HT Cafe, on 9 March 2017
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