In tete-a-tete with Restaurant India, Nakul, Owner at Maria's Cookbook shares about the idea of European-styled bakery.
Nakul is a born foodie. Maria’s Cookbook is the result of his avid interest in the food industry by actively participating in his family business which has been operating for more than 25 years.He was always passionate about opening retail outlets and extending his customer base by establishing his bakery as a multi-outlet chain. Among other aspects of the business Maria’s Cookbook undertake B2B corporate supply of breads, cookies, cake and customised corporate gifting.
What inspired you to start a concept like this?
I have visited many bakeries across Europe. One common trend that I have noticed in the Patisseries there is the maintenance of high quality standards. In contrast the bakeries in India regularly used pre-mixes and other substitutes to reduce cost which may give a satisfactory taste to the product but at the same time these pre-mixes have low quality standards and contain high amount of preservatives. Being a health-conscious individual, I noticed this culture was being followed in Delhi by most of the bakeries. Therefore, I was inspired to use recipes with natural ingredients and serve healthier products. My trip to Prague and Budapest in 2017 motivated me to bring a culture in India which promotes healthy-eating and focus on maintaining high quality standards. The idea was to focus on using raw natural ingredients rather than using their cheaper substitutes.
What made you introduce Chimney Cakes in India?
It is for the first time that we have introduced Chimney Cakes in India. Chimney Cakes is a product famous across Europe by different names such as Kurtos Kalacs, Spit Cakes and Trdelnik to name a few. Trdelnik are famous to the extent that every street would have about three to four small outlets preparing them fresh and selling them. It is a name given to Chimney Cake Aka Spit Cakes in Prague. These Trdelnik/ Chimney Cakes are very famous across Eastern Europe and now catching up in United Kingdom.
How do you bake it?
It is made with pastry dough wrapped around a wooden stick which is then baked in a special oven manufactured exclusively to bake chimney cakes. Once it is baked the pastry is cylindrical in shape and hollow from inside. Our home-made hot chocolate fudge, nutella, or blueberry filing as per request is added inside while it is hot and served.
What is the sort of experience that you are creating at Maria’s Cookbook?
I like to personally be present at the outlet as much as possible. The whole idea is to run it like bakeries across Europe that the owner himself is present throughout and cater to the customer’s need. A lot of attention was given to the interiors to make it feel like sitting at home and enjoying a dessert.
How is the customer response?
We have been fortunate enough to be in a neighbourhood where we get instant and elaborate feedback from our customers. Certain products such as Lemon Cake, Banana Bread, Tiramisu, Opera and Chimney Cakes among other products have been given an outstanding feedback and our customers are coming back for it again & again.
What are your marketing strategies?
Our focus has always been to reduce the cost of the products by splurging money on marketing gimmicks may bring more customers but it adds up to the cost of the products at the same time. The burden eventually falls on the customers. Therefore, the idea is to focus on providing high quality standards at reasonable pricing. Our products will do our marketing on its own.
How do you think reduction in GDP will impact food service sector?
Strictly speaking from a lawyer’s perspective there are many factors including GDP which may have an impact on the food service industry. Keeping the food culture currently present in India it may not have a deterrent effect. Also, it is all over the news that the GDP is expected to rise in the coming years.
What are your upcoming projects?
Once we figure out logistics we are planning to put up temporary stalls of Chimney Cakes in various food festivals that are being conducted across Delhi. Considering its important that people are aware that the Chimney Cake are now also available in India.