It’s amazing to know that Indian women are no more depended only on corporates to earn a living, or establish an identity. They are gradually learning to be entrepreneurs from the confines of their kitchen.
Anjana Nath, a Bengali woman in Bangalore, has been a true citizen to both the cities she belongs to. She not only runs a home bakery in the garden city, but has donated all the money she earned by baking cakes for providing ration to 30 families in Bangalore and some more in Kolkata.
All set with her “gilhari prayas” towards a shining “Atmanirbhar Bharat”, Anjana Nath shared her inspiring journey with us.
When I came across your cakes, they were pieces of art to me. I would like to know since when are you baking these stunners? How did your “cakewalk” start?
Well, it was my daughter’s 2nd birthday when she decided to have a cat theme birthday party. I was not into baking then and hence I contacted a leading confectioner of Bangalore asking them to make a simple “Angela” topper cake. Unfortunately that didn’t turn out to be a stunner and hence the journey began. Started with muffins, cupcakes and a few flavors of celebration cakes and now La Vanilla have 30 odd flavors to offer apart from other treats and savories.
What is your flavor of the season?
Since this is Christmas I would suggest my foodies to try our Rich Plum cakes, Rum balls and Brownies which are termed as “best” by foodies themselves. We are offering sugar free and gluten free cakes too.
Where do you look for inspiration to come up with these amazing ideas for your cakes?
There are artists all around. However, my customers are the one I owe a lot to. They share their mind and I try to work it out accordingly. Many a times I was asked to make a replica of a cake from google which I say “No” to. As a baker we cannot copy a work of a fellow baker because we are two different individuals, off course I don’t deny that I do get inspired from my friends who are in same profession. We have a small group where we discuss a lot about ideas and more.
Are you running a cake shop or are you “baking from home?”
La Vanilla is a one-woman home bakery.
Do you have any help or is it just you?
Well, when it is cakes it me only. From scratch till the topper I do it myself. Jiya, is very co-operative. She will sit by my side and watch me making those toppers. Sometimes at 2 in the morning, I will have my better half coming with a cup of coffee, which means a lot. My family is a big mental support to me.
Your Facebook profile says that you are working for a leading global bank. How do you manage your time?
I work part-time. I took the decision to go part time to maintain the work life balance when Jiya (my daughter) was just 3 and my mom who is a great support got diagnosed with Kidney problem which demanded her to go under dialysis. The days I work, I don’t take orders and even I do I ensure that my passion is not crossing its path with my professional work.
Promoting a business is a huge juggle. What are you doing for people to know that you are here baking these amazing cakes?
To be honest, I am very poor in promoting my work. I am definitely there on Instagram and on Facebook by the name of “@lavanilla.homebaker” and I keep on sharing my work there. I am glad people are noticing my work and I am glad that they are liking it.
The lockdown period was one of the toughest people in many Indian lives during this year. There was a lot of money crunch. In such a situation, you spend all the money you you earned from your cakes towards charity. Please tell us more about that?
I have tried my best to be with people who had suffered money crunch with groceries. When I decided to donate all my money towards the noble, I had friends and family coming forward and join hands with me during that tough time. Reality hit me when I came to know my house help and her family were starving for 5 days because they had no ration. I remember how I and my husband went to local police station to allow us to go to her place and handover groceries.
That day we managed to distribute ration for 30 families in her locality. It was God who made me a medium to reach to the people who were badly praying for help. I am grateful that not only in Bangalore but also in Kolkata, through friends who are social activists, I was able to send help to the people in need.
Bengalis are foodies after all. I am guessing you are no different. Apart from confectionary, do you cook other Bengali delicacies also?
Ha ha, I belong to a family of foodies. My nanu had spoilt me from the age of 5 with Singara (samosa, chop, cutlet) and no wonder that stayed. I am lucky to be exposed to world’s cuisine because of my love for food. When Sunday breakfast has to be with those delicious Kachoris which I used to feast on when in Kolkata, I have my foodies who loves the Rolls, fish fry, continental and oriental dishes which I prepare from time to time. Though my comfort food will always be “Masoor dal, Aloo bhaja and Omllette with steamed rice along with Aam tail pickle.”
Of all the cakes that you have crafted, which one is your favourite?
As a mother I can’t differentiate between my kids. A lot of hard work goes into them.
Would you like to keep it as the one woman army that it is today, or do you have higher plans or ambitions?
I am enjoying the present by baking and arranging 5-6 cakes a day alone however if Almighty have different plans for me will follow it like that.
Contact La Vanilla to place an order today: 9836526111
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