"Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err. "
- Mohandas Gandhi
Practice is everything. As it is rightly said, life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent. Obstacles and blunders are an inevitable part of life, but what is important is how we overcome them to reach our goals.
Motivated and persevering, Zulekha Badar is a self-taught home baker from Mumbai. She is the founder of “Sweet Cravings” and the innovator of egg-free and gelatin free exotic desserts ranging from middle eastern to french. Her creations are truly spectacular and artistic to a different level.
Zulekha is one of the special guests of honor this year at The Bakers Collective and we were absolutely pleased to hear about her interesting start to this field and her thoughts and advice on baking.
Q. How did you first get started with baking?
I started baking from home, for my kids and that is how my passion for it developed. I am a self-taught home baker and have not taken any professional training. So I just started experimenting with a lot of recipes which gradually began my journey with baking.
Q. What are some things you do differently now than when you first started baking?
I got a lot of exposure. There’s also a lot of material easily available now. Initially, it was quite difficult to source materials, so that is the only advantage now, that everything is easily available.
Q. What has been your greatest challenge in baking?
I do only eggless baking, so that has been my greatest challenge.
Q. What is the most rewarding part of baking?
Client and student satisfaction. When they are satisfied, that is the ultimate satisfaction that I get.
Q. What are your favorite baking and cake decorating tools?
My whisk and my spatula are my favorite baking tools. As for cake decorating, it is my mini palette knife.
Q. Which one of your cakes is your favorite?
My Russian Honey Cake which is also known as Medovik, and from my middle-eastern desserts, the Kunafa (a thin noodle-like pastry) is my favorite.
Q. Could you give some tips to people who have just started baking or would love to start?
Firstly, have patience. Second, practice as much as you can. If possible, practice every single day. That’s what I have done. It is very important because some people give up very soon, so just don’t worry about going wrong. Nobody learns without disasters and mistakes – I’ve learnt only through disasters and by making mistakes. Learning like that is quite a positive point, especially for me as being a self-taught baker, disasters teach you exactly where you go wrong. Whereas when you’re trained, you don’t always tend to know what went wrong because everything is perfect. So disasters are important to happen.
Q. As you are the special guest of honor this year, what does The Bakers Collective mean to you?
The Bakers Collective is definitely a very important event and an opportunity to interact with the top bakers of India, as well as with a lot of new students. That being said, having fun is ultimately the most important part for me! Also, it’s all about spending some valuable, precious time with my colleagues and co-bakers.
Baking is an art which has to be perfected through continuous practice. This is indeed something that we all must remember, no matter what our passion is. It was an honor talking to Zulekha about her baking journey and wish her the best of luck for the future.