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Cakes, pizzas and more: Bake your way to success

Last updated on: February 6, 2013 09:55 IST

Cakes, pizzas and more: Bake your way to success

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Divya Nair

The baking industry which is touted to be a Rs 5000-crore industry by 2015 is expected to generate more employment and revenue in the next few years. Read on to know why this is the right time to pursue a career in baking and how.

Think of the last time you went to a cake shop and ordered a 1 kg cake.

Chances are you might have spent well above Rs 250 for it.

At a recent Bakery Business event held in Mumbai, Chef Naresh Pannala of Saubhagya Confectionery from Hyderabad told me how the average Indian customer was spending Rs 150 extra per one kilogram of cake merely for the "presentation and professional edge."

"If you have the right ingredients, and know how to make it, you will be spending less than Rs 100 per cake, the rest is profit" declared this chef who explained how contemporaries with their dash of style and experimentation have redefined the prospects in baking and nutrition for good.

Needless to say, I was curious to know how bakery products which were once known as the 'sick man's diet' had come this far.

"Baking is as old as the human civilisation," revealed Joseph Lawrence, bakery consultant at JM Bakers Academy. He said that the advent of technology and popularity of international reality shows, baking is what interested housewives, students and young graduates to sport the gloves and chef caps for a change.

Chef Pannala who'd decided to specialise in baking and confectionery products after completing his graduation in hotel management more than ten years ago, tells us why the opportunities are increasing by the day.

"Baking is no longer about cakes and buns, alone. Today, burgers, donuts and sandwiches are available in numerous variants giving customers the advantage of an international menu in their home country."

Although chef Pannala had to struggle in the initial days of his career because the demand for baking professionals when he started were few today, he's reaping the benefits and is glad to have identified his niche early.

For those who dare to see the bigger picture, here's the catch.

"If you are willing to make an investment for life, you can earn up to Rs 5 to 10 lakh a month," added Lawrence who owns JM Breads in Coimbatore operational since 1935.

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Image: Chef Shweta Bothra studied baking from Wilton School, Chicago
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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Exploring the trend: Why India is the future

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If an ASSOCHAM study is to be believed, the bakery industry in India, which comprises bread, biscuits and cakes, is valued at over Rs 3,295 crore.

And according to Abhijeet Pai, director, Saubhagya Confectionery, there has been an increase of 20 to 25 per cent over the last few years and the trend is expected to scale higher in the next few years.

"A significant part of India is below the age of 30 and comprises youngsters who want quick ready-to-eat products that are tasty and affordable."

"If bread is being consumed daily in most parts of India, the other alternatives are pizzas, cakes, donuts, burgers and cookies, which account to over 50 per cent of food consumption in our country" said Lawrence while translating the business perspective for aspiring youngsters.

Low cost of production, high nutritional value of bakery products and cheap labour is inviting entrepreneurs to invest in India.

"India is a major producer of wheat and dairy products which makes it a lucrative market to invest in.

Even during festivals, consumers are looking for a fusion of east meets west, be it chocolates, cakes or desserts, which has sough the interest of people across demographics," added Pai.

Currently, some of the leading retailers in the business are Britannia Industries, Monginis Foods, Cremica, Dukes Foods, ITC Ltd, Parle, Surya Foods and Agro to name a few and each of them are adding interesting new products to their line-up almost every month to bring in more customers who want variety and taste.

Besides, with internationally acclaimed shows like Master Chef and Junior Master Chef coming up with their second instalments, young aspirants in India are also vying for their share of quick fame and money through reality shows.


Image: You can experiment with shapes and sizes to enhance the final look of your products
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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Passion: Do you have it in you?

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Skill-sets required

To pursue a career in baking or confectionery, you need to have all of the following in equal measure:

  • Knowledge of ingredients
  • Accuracy of judgement
  • Creativity
  • Lots of patience
  • Attention to detail

Minimum investment, maximum returns

Anyone can pursue a career in baking, provided they have the passion for it.

To get started, all you require is the knowledge of key ingredients and the judgement of right proportion and temperature, says Mohini Sawla, founder, Creative Niche that provides 3D cakes and pasteries in suburban Mumbai.

With a little magic of packaging and promotion, you are set to be the talk of town.

Rashmi Ajani, a housewife from Mumbai started her cake business with no professional training.

"I don't even have an oven or microwave at home," confessed the 40-year-old who referred to cooking shows on television and recipes on magazines instead of opting for a professional course.

Today, she makes a profit of over 50 per cent on cakes alone and aims to open a small shop when the time is right.

Ajani who makes customised egg-less cakes for neighbours and friends on request says the only investment one needs to make is the ingredients besides the experience and knowledge of judgment.

However, chef Pannala tells us why investing in a professional training institute will give you a boost.

"You will be aware of the latest technology and will be trained about baking techniques with the best in business. A professional degree will help you bag international assignments as well," added Pannala who advises youngsters to invest in a good course and institute and simultaneously work part-time where they can test their skills to perfection.

At the same time, Chef Shweta Bothra, who studied baking from Wilton School, Chicago insists that pursuing a course abroad will acquaint youngsters with the emerging trends in baking internationally and also help them implement the same in their home countries.



Image: You must have accuracy of judgement and oodles of patience to survive in this profession
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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Roadmap to study

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Programmes and Institutes

The following institutes offer certificate and diploma courses in baking and confectionery in India:

  • The Goa Swiss Institute of Hotel Management, Mumbai
  • Delhi Institute of Hotel Management, New Delhi
  • Welcome Group School of Hotel Management, Manipal
  • Oberoi School of Hotel Management, Delhi
  • National Council for Hotel Management, New Delhi
  • Indian Institute of Hotel Management (Taj Group), Aurangabad
  • Vel's Institute of Hotel Management, Chennai
  • Oriental Institute Of Catering Technology & Hotel Management, Madurai
  • State institute of Hotel Management, Orissa
  • MGR institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology, Chennai

Course fee and duration

You can pursue a three-year bachelor programme from any leading hotel management institute and specialise in baking in confectionery in the final year of graduation.

Those who do not have a hotel management degree can also opt for

A three-month certificate course in India would cost you anything between Rs 10,000 and Rs 50,000 depending on your choice of institute and the facilities offered.

However, international institutes charge higher fees but promise you better exposure and remuneration after completion of course.


Image: An international degree will only enhance your opportunities back home
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com
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Scope of career across demographics

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While pursuing your graduation, you can earn a stipend of Rs 3,000 upwards depending on your skills and performance.

An assistant chef earns between Rs 8,000 to Rs 12,000 at leading restaurants, says chef Pannala.

Once you complete your education and have a professional degree, you can start working as a demi chef de partie at restaurants, coffee or cake shops earning anything between Rs 18,000 to Rs 30,000 per month.

As you advance higher to the position of executive chef, you will be drawing a monthly salary of above Rs 3 lakhs, informed Chef Shweta.

And for those who aim to look beyond the placement scenario, here's the bait.

"With an initial investment of Rs 50,000 to 80,000, you can set up a shop in a shopping mall, a college or industrial campus in your city.

Once your operations scale up, you will be earning at least Rs 10,000 a day," said a proprietor from southern India who did not want to be named.

This proprietor also pointed out at the employment opportunities the baking and confectionery industry will be generating in the next decade.

"The baking industry is touted to be a Rs 5000-crore industry by 2015.

The employment opportunities will be immense for those looking for both part-time and full-time careers," summed Lawrence.

Chef Pannala's word of caution for youngsters -- "If you start now, be prepared to face the competition. But if you are flexible, patient and have a creative bent of mind, sky's the limit for you," he quipped.

Image: The next decade will offer plenty of opportunities for passionate professionals
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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