Akansha Pandey (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Considering the changing tastes and preferences of the consumers in today’s times, bakery chefs have also taken efforts in replacing refined flour with multigrain flour, oats, rye flour, buckwheat and other healthier alternatives wherever possible. Customers appreciate the fact that bakery chefs are using natural, quality and healthier ingredients as much as possible.
“Earlier cakes with icing used to be quite popular filled with lots of cream but now the demand has moved towards healthier cakes like fruit pies and dry cakes of banana and mango with jaggery and not sugar. People have moved on from old and classic pastries to new age eggless or gluten-free pastries,” says Chef Swetha, Head of Bakery and Confectionery at the foodservice and support services company – Compass Group India. Due to the rising awareness about healthy eating, people have also become conscious of their sugar intake but when it comes to bakery items which are considered the comfort food of people, they still have a long way to go. About 60% of the consumers in India don’t consider sugar intake into account while consuming bakery items. There are only a handful of customers who binge sugar-free sweets, she claims.
The Bakery Chef comes with 11 years of work experience as a Chef. Based out of Bengaluru (India), at this Fortune 500 brand – Compass Group India, she has been serving for three years now. She is an experienced Executive Chef with a demonstrated history of working in European Bread and Patisserie in the hospitality industry. Skilled in pre-opening, menu-development, fine dining, B2B, catering, retail, food and beverage and people management, she holds the command in Operations with a Masters in European Cuisine and Patisserie from Cesar Ritz Culinary Institute, Switzerland. She goes on to add that consumers today are prioritising convenience over everything with increasing demand for bread, cookies, pies, puffs, sandwiches and bite-sized desserts. Both these bakery items have been the go-to option for people. “People who dine out are more informed today than ever. They love experimentation when it comes to food and want to taste the world cuisine.
Therefore, we are on a constant run for trying new food fusions to pleasantly surprise our customer’s palates. On a daily basis, we keep doing trials of new bakery items from a variety of ingredients available. We recently tried the Mexican sweet bread – Conchas,” she exclaims. Chef Swetha draws her inspiration by eating out and trying out new kinds of dishes. “I always have that craving to curate and relish new bakery items. My mother has also played an integral role in my life by passing on her love for food to me. I have grown up seeing her enjoying herself in the kitchen and getting creative with ingredients. It aroused my interest too in the commercial cooking domain,” she states. Sharing her words of wisdom with new chefs, Chef Swetha highlights that it is quite challenging to work in a corporate setup where one has a free hand to experiment rather than following a set menu.
For those looking forward to becoming a Chef, Chef Swetha adds, “When we started off with studying Hotel Management, all 60 of us in the batch wanted to become chefs. By the end of the internship, the number got reduced to six students who were gung-ho about entering the chef profession. Thus, you should decide about becoming a chef only if you are passionate about it and not get attracted towards it merely because of what you see on TV or through influencers. Given the demanding 24×7 work profiles of Chefs, there is a lot of pressure to live up to and one needs to be on their toes for long hours patiently.”
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