What skill sets/qualities should a person have to pursue this career?
To be a home baker, a person has to be very creative, artistic and innovative and should be good at marketing.
Is any educational qualification required to pursue this career?
There are no educational qualifications required to pursue this course.
Any other add-on complimentary courses?
One can do short academy courses in baking like pastry chef, cake bakers, etc.
Which are the good institutes to train in India and abroad?
Dadar Catering College and Sophia is one of the institutes where you can train in the city. Another institute where you can train is Pastry Academy of India located in Delhi. Lavonne Academy in Bangalore is another good institute where one can train. Le Cordon Bleu is one of the most recognised university across the world which trains you in baking. It has branches all over the globe.
How important are internships? Which are the good places to intern?
Internships are extremely important as they give you good practice, they help you understand how to handle bulk orders, how to cut costs, how to maintain stocks.
Internships at any 5 star hotels are highly advisable. One could get in a good 3-4 months experience and then start working professionally or start your own thing. Internships at any proper popular dessert outlet also can be of major help.
Is this career a good paymaster?
In the initial stages, one face difficulties as you are not well-known and may get orders from only close friends and family. But as the business grows, your pay starts increasing. The margins might be low initially but it slowly starts to build up.
What challenges one can face while pursuing this career?
One of the challenges one can face in the initial stages is facing financial losses. This is because initially you are not known, so to market your product, you have to give out free samples, put up stalls, etc. So you have to invest money from your own pocket initially which may result in certain monetary losses. Keeping up with all the bulk orders and finishing it up exactly according to the client’s requirement is another major challenge. The competition is another challenge as there are many bakers out there so you constantly have to come up with something new and innovative. Baking equipments are another issue. Having the right kind of equipments and of proper sizes is important so that you do not have to repeat the baking process all over again which is time-consuming.
Is there any difficulty in finding clients? What marketing strategies can be used to build client base?
Finding clients in the initial stages is difficult, but it becomes easier once your cakes and pastries have been tasted. Marketing is done both online and offline. Online marketing is done by creating your company’s page on various social media sites like facebook, instagram and posting pictures of all previous orders. Offline marketing is done mainly through word of mouth.
How has this career evolved since inception?
Baking as a career has evolved drastically in the previous years. It started out with using very simple equipments like only cookers to now using complex equipments like ovens, microwaves, blast chillers, moulders, etc. Initially, cakes and pastries were used only for birthday celebrations. But now they are not just used for birthday, but all sorts of celebrations like weddings, engagement parties, baby showers, etc. At it’s inception only simple, one tier cakes were baked, now, we see all sorts of fancy, multi-tier cakes with pictures, cakes in different shapes and sizes and so on.
How do you see the future of this career?
This industry is never going to die down, but just grow further as cakes and pastries are a must for celebrations and celebrations are never going to stop. So this industry is going to have a very bright and promising future.
The best and the worst things about this career?
The best part of this career is surely doing what you love. The worst things would be the work hours. Another worst thing is that the customers think they own you just because they are paying you to do something. They call you at odd hours and demand to make last minute changes.
One piece of advice you would give to someone who aspires to pursue this career.
One important advice would be to be very dedicated and persevere and not give up in the face of difficulties.
This article was a contribution of Miss Nishma, Miss Avni and Miss Stuti, three renowned bakers, excelling at the field of Home Baking. Their experience was extremely beneficial to this article and they wish all the aspiring bakers out there Good Luck.