From homemaker to entrepreneur: A journey of passion and dedication
Sandhya Kini Mayenkar, who started taking cake and food orders from home, today, runs her own institute of culinary arts offering over 70 courses. She has taught over 3000 students in the past five years. Many have gone on to start their own ventures, a fact that makes her very proud
19th November 2018, 02:09 Hrs
She is all in one - a doting mother of two beautiful daughters, a passionate home-baker who’s turned a busy entrepreneur who not only initiated a culinary institute of her own but kick-started a supermarket too - all in a span of just few years. Meet Sandhya Kini Mayenkar, a home science graduate who quit her well-settled job of 12 years as a branch head of a reputed advertising agency just to take care of her children.
“After the birth of my second daughter, I quit my job to stay home as a full-time mom and take care of my kids. I had a lot of time on my hands but no money. Sitting idle at home with no specific task, I got depressed and frustrated. But my parents and my husband were great motivators. My passion for food and cooking led me to start baking cakes and take food orders from home. It didn’t take much time for me to start my own, SKM Institute of Culinary Arts where I began teaching my art to others. I saw that there were many women like me who wanted to stay at home and earn some income too and for them, my courses came in handy,” briefs Sandhya who has won Achiever’s Award 2018 recently.
Sandhya has been conducting classes for the past five years and streamlined around 70 different courses which she taught to around 3000 students. Most of them are one day courses and if a person learns step by step, she can assure to teach the student up to the highest level in baking. There are different courses, from basics of cake baking, icing, frosting, sugar flowers to making natural cosmetics and handmade beauty products.
“The culinary skills are taught in categories like cooking, oven, desserts, festive and preserves. It makes me happy to see that many women and homemakers have started their food business after getting trained in my school,” smiles Sandhya whose courses range from basic to advanced levels of baking and cooking. People not only from Goa but the neighbouring states too attend her workshops. Her students are made up of beginners and professionals, who want to upgrade their skills.
Sandhya who has been a part of numerous cake and bake shows in Goa and other states, is invited as a judge for many local events. All that she earned in the past five years was invested in opening a super market at Miramar - Kini Super Market in her parent’s name.
“It was their dream project. The business has now picked up so well that it has been one among of the most reputed super markets in Panaji. It gives me immense pride when I see that my achievements have made my parents very happy. I must admit, my dad has been my greatest role model and support in all my (ad)ventures,” states Sandhya who celebrated five years of her journey as a teacher in her culinary school this Diwali.
Sandhya’s passion for cooking became her profession and her dream turned into a reality. She claims her students are her strength. “They express appreciation, trust and love for her teaching. SKM is now become a family of around 3000 plus students. The feedback, good or bad, helps us to grow. Many of my students have started commercial ventures from their homes. It gives me pleasure to see what I taught has been reflected in their work with an added value of their own,” states Sandhya.
Cooking is not a mystery. Anyone and all can learn and master it. Sandhya gives confidence to her students. She feels, “Teaching people how to cook is a unique opportunity. It touches people’s lives in an important way. It’s like giving them a gift for life. They can practice these culinary skills wherever they go on earth. As I believe that the way to someone’s heart is through the tummy, I love showing people how uncomplicated their favourite restaurant dish could be. Everything that we eat, affects us in some way or the other, so why put bad things in our system? Those who learn to cook can gain control of what goes into their bodies.”
SKM prides itself on the diversity of cuisine the institute teaches. Sandhya started with only cakes and bakes, but eventually moved on to starters, main courses, desserts and advanced professional courses in cake decorations and now moving on into another exciting phase of cosmetics making. She also accepts orders for customised cakes, chocolates and desserts. Over 70 courses have been added to her list in the past five years.
Elaborating on the latest feat of cosmetic making workshops, Sandhya announces that her next is an exciting series of natural and organic cosmetic making classes. “I will be teaching people to make their own cosmetics and beauty products customised to suit their body and beauty requirements. The fascinating aspect about the course is that all resources used can be found in the everyday kitchens,” she says.
Sandhya’s SKM Institute of Culinary Arts is a school for everyone. Here, students are taught simple, delicious and back-to-basics home cooking. Students are not intimidated by fancy appliances as all lessons are taught using common utensils that are found in most homes.
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