This Thursday we are going to squash all your diet plans and all your monthly weight loss targets. Reading this interview will get you warnings from your dietician as this interview will make you splurge on some lovely preparations. We present to you one of the finest in the pastries business who is behind the popular blog Foodaholics. She is also a TED fellow and has received many awards. Presenting to you, an interview with Kishi Arora, Pastry Chef and Founder of Foodaholics.
Q: When and why did you start blogging?
A: I started blogging in 2009. Why-to speak my mind, to share my passion for food with whoever is willing to listen because being a foodaholic is contagious. I have got the bug and I want to spread it. Thatâ€™s how â€œFoodaholicsâ€ came about.
Q: What topics do you generally blog about?
A: Generally anything related to yumminess, tastiness and anything scrumdidlyumptious!
Q: Do you ever get stuck when writing an entry? What do you do then?
A: Truth be told turns out I am a chef not a writer, so I do get stuck, but I just make food/desserts and enjoy it, and use that as an â€œamuse gulleâ€ . Now that gets my creative juices flowing and often manages to inspire words.
Q: Can you tell us more about Foodaholics? How does it operate? What are the things that you take care of while delivering?
A: At Foodaholics, you will find a 360 degree offering â€“ technical food consulting, with a trained chef on board, and perfectly executed desserts from various countries. I have designed a range of cakes, desserts in exotic flavours including Blueberry, Orange Chocolate, Bavarian-Vanilla and many more – all made to order, fresh and delivered to your doorstep.
Our modus operandi generally involves Clients calling or emailing us and followed up by personal one-on-one consultation. I am very happy to tell you that 90% of these consultations end up as realized orders.
Though there are many players in this market, I believe that the exotic appeal, quality and personalized service combined â€“ will be key differentiators for foodaholics.
We donâ€™t have set menus. We customise orders for each and every client. Our effort is to get involved with each and every customer and understand their requirement, their taste and work towards delivering the same.
Q: You are an alumni of Culinary Institute of America, one of the premier institutions of the world. How was the experience there and what do you think makes it unique?
A: During the two years there, apart from focusing on my majors, Baking and Pastry, I learnt about the aesthetics of preparing, tasting, serving and displaying food. The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) focused on all around development that helped me set up my own business. I was exposed to subjects such as menu development, food and beverage costing, design and styling of food items, product knowledge and wine tasting, to name a few. The CIA not only covers the theoretical aspects of business, but also exposed me to practical situations so that I was able to advance from skills kitchens, to meal preparation kitchens, to the award winning on campus public restaurants.
The classes at the CIA provided me with formal education in my subject, but my interactions with other students, who came from all over the world, infused in me the passion to excel in my field. In my second year, I travelled cross country to Seattle to work at Dahlia lounge, a Tom Douglas enterprise.
The work experience, or ‘externship’, as they call it, helped me in a big way to understand the real world of the food industry. This externship was a requirement for all students graduating from the CIA. Once I was back at school, I was able to delve into the art and science of baking and pastry making because of the curriculum: that covered hearth breads and rolls, cookies and tarts, classic and contemporary cakes, as well as chocolates and confections.
At the CIA, one also gets to become a part of a support network that spans the industry, irrespective of whether you’re a chef, restaurateur, food writer, food service manager, or a research and development professional. The degrees offered at the CIA are Associates (AOS) and Bachelors (BPS). The transition to college life in a new country can be challenging but mine was smooth and I have only pleasant memories of the two years I spent there.
Q: Our readers would love to know on what makes a pastry chef a ‘Pastry Chef’? How did you find yourself gravitating toward pastry?
A. A pastry chef is a scientist and an artist who is adventurous with their taste buds. I had taken up culinary as my major but being a vegetarian made me specialize in pastry and until now I have no regrets.
Q: What are your favorites culinary weapons in the kitchen and you favorite secret ingredient? Also, share a few tips for our readers to take care while preparing the pastry.
A: Culinary Weapon – the small offset spatula.
Secret Ingredient – using the best quality ingredients: good quality ingredients speak for themselves, you donâ€™t have to do anything to make it special it already has the wow factor built in.
Tip – Follow the recipe with the methods but donâ€™t be afraid to experiment with the flavors. Such as make a chocolate cake … add a bit of orange zest and donâ€™t let it be just any chocolate cake and make it YOUR chocolate cake!
Q: What was the most challenging pastry you had to make and why? What is the most spectacular dessert you have ever had and where?
A: Most challenging – Chocolate Wheel Barrow piece for a NY Pastry Competition.
Spectacular Dessert – recently had molecular gastronomy based desserts in Singapore at 2 am Dessert Bar.
Q: You are a TED fellow. Can you share with us some learning’s and experiences which has helped you as a TED fellow?
A: At TED, I have been able to meet people from all walks of life. I have heard many inspirational stories about such great ideas be it simple or high tech that has aided me to have a complete paradigm shift. My changes of thoughts include marketing, flavors, customer service, business development and even personal growth.
Q: While you were at MOD you were responsible for the sweet and savory donuts. Donuts and Pastries are still not what the common man. Do you see this scenario happening where Donuts and quality pastries be available in local bakeries?
A: Indian pallet is already very exploratory and with time it will become more refined.
Q: You are the recipient of the LBF (Lakshya Bhartee Foundation) Visionary Award and also awarded for the best deserts in town by Burrp. Can you tell our readers more about it and what it felt like when you received the award?
A: The LBF and Burrp awards gave me a sense of pride in what I am doing. There is a personal sense of satisfaction to be recognized for my hard work. Not only it made me more confident about growth of FOODAHOLICS, but it made me believe that people are ready to experiment with new things be it desserts or food.
Q: Kishi, other than pastries and baking, what do you do or what would you like to do in your spare time?
A: I love listening to music and I am always wondering which new city I will explore next! I am gypsy at heart who believes if you want to learn about food and culture: eat, travel and dance!
Q: Do you promote your blog? What promotional techniques work best for you and why?
A: I use Facebook and Twitter to share the links for my blog. Foodaholics has a fan page, a group on Facebook and a Twitter account with a strong following.
Q: How important is it for the blogger to interact with their readers? Do you respond to all the comments that you receive?
A: I do respond to all my comments. It is of great importance to me because not only is it vital feedback on what I am doing and posting but it also helps me to keep my fingers on the pulse of Foodaholics everywhere.
Q: What do you find to be the most gratifying aspect of blogging?
A: My life, my computer, my brain, my thoughts at my time!
Q: How, in general, would you rate the quality of Indian blogs? Share your favourite five blogs.
A: There is a broad spectrum of Indian bloggers. I donâ€™t have favorites per se but these are the few people/blogs I follow:
Q: What is your advice to someone who wants to start a blog?
A: Donâ€™t think, just blog!
Q: Do you earn revenue through your blog? How does one go about it?
A: I donâ€™t earn revenue through my blog but I do get enough publicity that leads to more orders. So there is indirect revenue 🙂
Q: When does everyone in India get to taste your wonderful pastries? Aren’t you thinking of taking Foodaholics to more cities in India?
A: My future plan -To make everyone a â€˜Foodaholicâ€™, and give all my customers unforgettable experiences, which they would love to return to, time and time again.
I want to make sure my innovation doesnâ€™t stop at working on one product but goes on to redefine the meaning of surprise and creativity in food, especially desserts.I hope I can do delivery of my stuff all over India soon.
Q: Letâ€™s conclude off with a few favorites.
Movie: Donâ€™t have a favorite
TV Show: Nigella Lawson
Book: The Elements of Taste – Gray Kunz
Time of Day: Night
Your Zodiac Sign: Libra
If you are in Delhi, Gurgaon or Noida (NCR) call FOODAHOLICS now and create your custom cake.And you know what, Readers of BlogAdda gets 10% discount on Kishi’s wonderful creations! If you are ordering from Foodaholics and want 10% discount, write to us at contact(at)blogadda.com
Thank you Kishi for the wonderful interview and do let us know when are you sending us the cake. 🙂