From the time Sanjana Chaganti turned 11, she has been asking for cooking supplies as birthday gifts. It included an oven, kitchenaid stand mixer, ice cream makers, pasta machines, etc. Today, the youngster sells various desserts under her venture Petite Patisserie.
A cooking enthusiast, Sanjana got into baking when she was 10 and started with basic cakes and cookies. “I was an extremely poor eater until I was 10 but then there was a sudden switch and I began to love food. I am a self-taught baker who learned from books and internet resources. I had a couple of bake sales when I was young and after that, I started taking orders,” says 18-year-old Sanjana.
Her signature dishes are Philadelphia cheesecake, dark chocolate caramel tart, apple crumble tart and Belgian chocolate cake. When quizzed about her inspiration behind baking, she says, “One of my early inspirations was Mumbai-based pastry chef Pooja Dhingra. I had the great opportunity to meet her and receive advice from her a couple of years ago.
”Before the pandemic, Sanjana used to find time on weekends and on holidays to bake but wasn’t able to take too many orders. But when her school shut in March 2020, she started baking regularly and perfecting different desserts. “I was able to cook every day and started taking orders. I allocated time for studies and made sure my cooking didn’t affect that. I did not take orders during my exam or test weeks.
Through this process, I learned how to prioritise. When it was announced that my board exams were delayed at end of April, Pooja Reddy from Sweet Spot, a curated dessert studio, contacted me and that was when I started supplying to Sweet Spot as I knew I wouldn’t have school work for at least a month. And when board exams got cancelled, I was happy that I would be able to continue taking orders and supplying,” shares Sanjana, who studied at The School Krishnamurti Foundation India The youngster, who is busy with orders, tells us that she doesn’t rely on this income and is doing it out of interest.
“I am happy with the number of orders I am getting as I still have time to keep learning. When I cook something that people enjoy, I feel so much gratitude that something I have created has the ability to gives others joy. My parents have been extremely supportive of my cooking,” adds San-jana. She is planning to get a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts from The Culinary Institute of America in New York.When Dhruva Narayanaswamy turned 3, he started experimenting in the kitchen along with his mother Maya.
Three years ago, Dhruva and his friends did a pop-up where they baked and raised money for a cause. When the 2021 summer vacation started Dhruva (9) and his brothers Arjun (6) and Kabir (almost 2) were wondering how to spend time at home. That’s how the idea of starting a baking venture popped up and they launched The Luv and Bear Company. “Dhruva loves watching the cooking show Masterchef Australia.
He tries to bring his twists to recipes. For now, we have a standard menu that includes The OG (carrot cake with cream cheese frosting), Mr Lemony Snicket (lem-on teacake), Triple Threat (fudgy chocolate cookie), Ms Fudgey Mc Fudgeroo (fudgy chocolate cake) and Chewy Chips (jaggery butter biscuits). We will be collaborating with Sweet Spot from next week onwards and the money raised from the sales will go to COVID relief,” says Maya, Dhruva’s mother.
When we asked Dhruva what’s the secret behind his desserts and how he perfects them, he says, “It’s simple just follow the recipe while baking.”In an earlier interview with us, 10-year-old baker Vinusha MK said that she had a knack for baking and wanted to explore baking possibilities. She started a venture called Four Seasons Pastry. “I make cakes, cupcakes, and other treats. The cup-cakes are inspired by the four seasons. The base for the cupcakes would remain the same, but the cream and frosting differs. For winter cupcakes, I make snowflake fondant. Apart from cupcakes, I also make brownies and sandwiches,” Vinusha said.