The third edition of Baker Showcase, all set to take place at the Asan Memorial School auditorium on February 2, will see the skills of home bakers come to the fore
Don’t log on at work. Especially if you’re hungry. The Home Baker’s guild has perfected the art of marketing on Facebook. Pictures. And lots of them. Luscious orange bars dusted with snowy powdered sugar. Golden-brown salted caramel tarts. Juicy sausage rolls. Each time a picture goes up, more people sign onto the page. Which is how they grew from a friends-and-family group of a few hundreds, to a thousand to almost 3,500 people.
It all began with their first ‘Baker Showcase,’ where 14 home bakers brought their goodies to Crimson Chakra to sell. They drew an unexpectedly large crowd — about 600 people — who obliterated the 2000 desserts on offer in just one and a half hours. “We realised that was the start of something big,” says Balakumar, one of the founders of the Home Baker’s Guild. The second showcase, also at Crimson Chakra last October, featured about 20 bakers and 700 customers. Now they’re getting ready for the Third Edition of the Baker Showcase — and this time they’re experimenting with a new neighbourhood.
Meet the bakers at Asan Memorial School this weekend. This edition promises a balance of sweet and savoury goodies. There’ll be the old favourites: cupcakes, cake pops, truffles and éclairs. But also inventive exotica like gajar halwa stuffed vanilla cupcakes, cream cheese pastry filled with sweet walnut and an array of flavoured butters, ranging from pesto, bacon and sage to honey, cinnamon and mango salsa. Vegetarians, vegans and gym bunnies can heave a sign of relief since the Facebook page also promises eggless cookies (in flavours like Oreo cheesecake and saffron), vegan banana walnut loaf and granola bars. When you’re ready to descend from your sugar high, dive into the cheesy lasagnes, crumbly quiches and sausage rolls.
Balakumar is especially excited about the event’s first group entry, three feisty women over fifty, who’ve come together to form the ‘Soul Food Sisters.’ The team consists of Sara Koshy, who's got over 16 years of baking experience, joining forces with Girija Menon and Tasneem Ayub. (Balakumar adds as an aside, “I'd christened them The Hot Mommas but they decided that was too scandalous!”).
Proceeds go to NGOs. “The event is not a business or money making venture for the Home Bakers Guild,” says Balakumar, adding that they intend to encourage baking talent, as well as give back to society. Meanwhile the forum, he says, has grown into a resource centre for baking enthusiasts from across India. “There are bakers, suppliers of baking accessories, chocolatiers, fondant artists, baker bloggers and a whole lot more sharing experiences, recipes and ideas.” He adds, “The Home Baker’s Guild also acts as a real-time bakers’ Wikipedia. It’s become a massive resource centre. With FAQs for any kind of baker.” They’ve recently expanded the scope of the forum to include home cooked food as well…” So far, they’ve organised a ‘Taste of India Tuesdays’ theme where recipes from all over the country are shared by members every Tuesday.
The Baker Showcase will take place at the Asan Memorial School auditorium (Anderson Road, off Greams Road) on February 2 between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Items are priced between Rs. 30 and Rs. 100. For details, log on to https://www.facebook.com/groups/homebakersguild/