You know he/she is the one for you when they manage to hit your sweet spot. Well, guess what? Our next #Forker IS the SweetSpot! Make way for Samiya Ahmed, a Patisserie Chef from Le Cordon Bleu, London. Curating, experimenting and creating new mouth-watering delicacies each day, Samiya has been successfully running her home-baking business under the name of SweetSpot in Pune for three years now. She is well known for her French delicacies and absolutely enjoys the time she spends baking! Her desserts are each better than the other; so much so that most people who try them want to marry her! Too bad for them, we have already called our dibs on her. Haha!
We got together with Samiya to get an insight into her journey so far and understand her future plans. And here’s what we gathered:
1) Did you always want to enter the baking industry? How did it all start?
My first love has ALWAYS been food. And I absolutely love desserts! After finishing my MBA, I wanted to work for a couple of years and then enter the food industry. But a series of unexpected events left me quitting my job and going to the best pastry school in London, Le Cordon Bleu. Since then, it has all been uphill and there has been no looking back.
2) What do you enjoy most about baking?
Oh, that’s a hard one to answer! I’d say I enjoy each and every minute of it. Every step comes with its set of challenges and the accomplishment you feel after. When the final product is appreciated and loved by all, THAT is the most satisfying moment. And that makes it a job that doesn’t really feel like one!
The only part I do not enjoy is the cleaning up after.
3) What’s the most difficult part of baking?
Baking is, in fact, much harder than it looks. In any food industry, the most important aspect is maintaining consistency. When it comes to baking, the precision that is required is not forgiving at all. Have a number go wrong and that’s the end of the dessert!
4) You have completed your education from Le Cordon Bleu, London. How different do you think it turned out than having done a course in India?
I think that it has made a big difference in where I am today! The French curriculum I had in school was quite an exclusive one. And being in a culinary school like Le Cordon Bleu, I got to meet people from all over the world. I had some great conversations and got to learn and exchange so much with them. The experience made it the most special year of my life till date!
5) What inspires you to keep going?
The very fact that I love what I do! And isn’t that in every profession? I always work towards being innovative and keep coming up with new flavours to excite people. People always want to eat and try something different so I make sure I try my best to keep them intrigued.
6) Which is your favourite recipe out of the ones you have created till date?
I make a couple of desserts with puff pastry and those are definitely my favourite! In my opinion, if a chef can master the art of making a good puff pastry, it gives him an upper hand since there are so many lovely desserts he can make using that.
7) Name three extremely weird or out-of-the-box flavours which surprisingly make great combinations.
Matcha Green Tea Japanese Pudding, Chai Spice Palmiers and Lemon and Rosemary Mousse.
8) What is the one thing that you have achieved and are most proud of?
Being called SweetSpot wherever I go! For me, it reminds me of how far I’ve come and how I’ve cultivated a name for myself.
9) What’s the worst/best compliment you have received as a baker?
Somebody once told me that if they had to choose one last meal, my dessert would be it.
10) Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
On a TV Show with Anthony Bourdain eating my way through life! Haha! But if that doesn’t happen then definitely still doing what I love, except I’d like to be on a beach somewhere in Spain!
11) How, do you think, the baking industry has changed from what it used to be a few years ago? What new trends can we expect in the future?
In terms of flavour, the industry has evolved a lot. People today are more open to new styles. There are a lot more innovative bakers in the industry, each one adding something different of their own.
12) What is the one thing that every baker absolutely must possess?
13) Name one other bakery chef whose work you really admire.
I follow a lot of chefs on a daily basis but if I had to name one of the many I think it would be Eric Lanlard. Absolutely love his work and his style!
14) A word of advice for budding bakers/entrepreneurs in the industry?
The start maybe slow, there will surely be days of doubt. But when you’re doing what you love, you’re bound to find success in the end. So keep your game strong and keep eating those cakes along the way, because you know what they say – “Never trust a skinny chef!”
15) What’s your all-time favourite dessert?
A good old classic carrot cake does it for me!
Okay, that’s more than enough salivating for one go! We cannot resist anymore so we’re off to get ourselves a sweet bite. You should do that too. NOW.
We wish Samiya all the very best for her future endeavours and look forward to tasting some more of her lip-smacking desserts!
Picture Courtesy: SweetSpot