Friday, 18 January, 2019

Little bit of baking and a heart full of passion are sweet mantras of this bizwoman

Ponda-based Ashwini Kamat Tendulkar has not looked back ever since she baked her first cake in 1996. From then on, it has been a journey of sweetness for her, spreading joy and happiness all along

12th March 2018, 06:46 Hrs


Without having had no idea of baking, she got down to making her first cake soon after her marriage. This first cake turned out to be so good, Ashwini Kamat Tendulkar kept making more and more cakes for family and friends till she turned her casual baking into a professional affair. 

Today, she runs her own business venture -- Urvi’s Angelic Bakes from her home in Ponda. A busy home baker now, she also runs two Facebook groups - Goan Foodomania and Home Bakers of Goa which are the talk of the town among Goans and which have gained popularity outside the State too.  

Ashwini has some specialities in the varieties of the cakes that she bakes. “My clients love the rich chocolate cakes that are my speciality. Other cakes that every other cake connoisseur loves to order are the red velvet, coconut lemon, Japanese cheesecake, brownies and cinnamon swirls. I bake most of these in both, eggless as well as the regular variety. I also bake sugar-free and gluten-free cakes so that no one should be left bereft from enjoying the tastes of life! And one can surely not miss the rich Indian delicacy cakes of Gulabjam and Rasmalai versions, to make those special days more special,”  

Known to provide sublime, premium, customised cakes with no preservatives whatsoever, Ashwini enjoys baking cakes for those who relish everything that a cake can offer -- from the visual delight to the yumminess of every bite. Is she a foodie herself? Pat comes her reply, “Yes, a big one. And I am very choosy too. Both of my Facebook groups are outlets to study, experience, and live out the world of food the way I am comfortable with. I love to experiment and come out with new versions of dishes that I and my family and friends love. To see them going for more helpings is so joyous!”  

She started by taking orders from friends. They, on liking what she had to offer, spread the word and soon strangers started ordering from her for their special days. “And when strangers became my regular customers, I knew I hit the mark. I started to get great reviews on my FB page and soon I had to say no to a lot of orders because of time issues,” she smiles. Ashwini’s clients range from common everyday folks to the heads of State. “I had the privilege to bake for the PM of Portugal when he had visited Goa some months back,” she boasts.  

“I bake for each of my clients with the same passion -- each cake gives me the same sense of peace once I bake. The smiles I see on the faces of each of my clients give me immense satisfaction, and I don’t have words to express this,” she says.  

“I take orders for customised cakes so it is mostly for parties, receptions, home functions, or just because someone wants to enjoy a lovely cake without any reason. I don’t have any outlet or machinery to get into bulk orders nor the time right now. But can’t say what the future holds,” she is honest in admitting. As of now, most of her clients collect the cake from her home, and she too delivers in areas like Ponda, Margao and Panaji. There is usually a delivery charge with this if the distances are more. She delivers as soon as the cake is ready and hence bakes accordingly. So time is not a factor for her.  

Ashwini finished her schooling in Curtorim and graduated from Margao’s Chowgule College. Lucky not to have taken any professional training in basic baking, she’s more of a self-learner. Training sometimes controls one’s thought pattern, leaving little space for adventure and exploration, feels Ashwini who points out, “Learning on my own gives me the flexibility to go for unheard of combinations, without any apprehension.”  

Ashwini never had any other job training in her life; all her experience has been from the warm confines of her home. She baked her first cake in 1996 and it was a Victoria sponge cake. “I started baking as I wanted to give my family healthier, chemical free, tastier and hygienic cakes which were not available anywhere in the market. Hence I started baking for every occasion for my family, friends and neighbours. Everyone at home liked this idea so much that it gave me the boost to experiment further. Trying to do better and increase the levels of perfection on my own has given me all the experience I needed,” smiles Ashwini, who eventually began to bake commercially.  

She spends a lot of her free time learning about new techniques, styles and flavours of baking. A big fan of sarees and ethnic wear, she’s planning to turn her hobbies into entrepreneurship. Ashwini has also started an ethnic saree venture called SareeSutra. “But let’s talk about it later,” she adds, not wanting to spill her secret mission too soon.  

What does she feel when she looks back at life? “As I said, my first cake was a big hit with my family, and that gave me a lot of confidence. A lot of free time, being a homemaker, gave me the space to build up on my skills in baking. But most importantly, it is my daughter who has been my strength and motivator. Her constant push has inspired me to conquer my fears, and has given me the confidence to face work stress, to be positive in the face of everything!” recalls Ashwini.  

The social entrepreneur in her reveals, “I want to give back to the society, and I do it by baking for those who are underprivileged and neglected. I bake a lot for them, including street kids, special kids and elderly persons. I enjoy baking free for them. This helps me spread joy and smiles which no money can buy.”  

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