Baking Food

Baker by choice

Food styling workshop by Shivesh Bhatia   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

Shivesh Bhatia may have studied political science but it was baking he felt most at home with. So Delhi-based Shivesh changed his path after graduation. “I didn’t give myself an option. There was no plan B, so I didn’t write entrance exams for any other course. I knew I wanted to bake,” says the baker, during a visit to Hyderabad. Two years ago, he began blogging he couldn’t have been happier.

Having seen his naani and mother bake cakes at home, Shivesh took to the craft quite naturally. Once when his naani was unwell, his cousins and he decided to try her signature chocolate cake. That began his tryst with baking. “My naani’s cake was out of this world. Nothing comes close to what she used to bake and I don’t even try to match up.” He tried his hand at chocolate cupcakes, but that was an ‘absolute disaster.’ “I was fascinated with the fact that simple ingredients can magically transform into a colourful dish in the oven.” His social media page is flooded with pictures of colourful desserts.

He wanted to take his food blogging to the next level and launched his first book Bake with Shivesh in November last year with 50 recipes. Buoyed by the response, he set out on a second book, this time a compilation of his favourite 100 recipes. “Releasing a book was something that I wanted to do ever since I had a food blog. It is a dream come true and the response was incredible. I am aiming for a February 2020 launch for my second book on baking and recipes.” He is happy sticking to his niche area of baking desserts. “I only bake. I have not gone into regular cooking.”

His recipes are tested multiple times before they find a place in his book. “I want my recipes to be foolproof and work even for beginners. The idea is to bring down every dessert into a simple recipe so that it is easy to read and follow. A lot of time and effort goes before we finalise them.”

The last two years have been hectic and his days begin with ‘maida and sugar’. Now he has a team to help at his studio kitchen in Delhi where he spends most of his time. When he is not trying recipes, you will find him conducting workshops or travelling. “No matter how busy I am, I try to include a small workout session,” says Shivesh.

The self-taught baker derives his ideas from the internet and by experimenting on his own. “Instagram is a great way to connect with people, especially other chefs. Learning is an ongoing process and the best way to learn and teach is to just go for it. Even in failure, you can incorporate your learning experience in what you are doing next.”

Last year he won the Conde Nast Traveller’s ‘Social Media Star Of The Year award. Yet his family and friends — his official testers — keep him grounded. “My family will throw me out of the house if I put on airs,” he laughs. “They are my direct contact with reality and make sure I am the same person they knew before I got into social media. I take feedback from them. My twin sister keeps blaming me that she has to go to the gym because of me.”

The food blogging scene is robust with self-styled critics who have an opinion on everything. Shivesh tries to stand apart by not reviewing a restaurant or food promotion. He only shares a recipe and the knowledge he gained by experimenting in the kitchen. “My experiences and adventures help to make my work unique and that is what I tell anyone who wants to enter the food space as it is so crowded now. It is important to bring something fresh to the table so that no one can copy you.”

He looks forward to work on video content and his two-month-old YouTube channel.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2021 7:45:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/shivesh-bhatia-on-his-passion-to-bake/article28271675.ece

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