Chef Gauri Varma on how every cake tells a story.
By crafting heart warming desserts at G’s Patisserie, Chef Gauri Varma knows that she is making a difference to everyone’s lives and is being a part of all things happy. Born and brought up in South Delhi, she was encouraged to pursue all her interests and was taught to excel in each one of them. She looked up to the achievements of her parents and grandparents, and believed she had big shoes to fill. As we gorge on the sumptuous products of her supremely popular cake studio, we are sure that we have a whole new generation of young bakers looking up to her.
Alongwith focus on a particular art form, it is diversity of perspectives that results in creative brilliance. Chef Gauri Varma credits her childhood with offering her that diversity and the freedom to dabble in various activities. Her family’s political and business influences led to her experiencing the best of all worlds, and resulted in the necessary drive to win. Academics was always of paramount importance, and key lessons in team building and sportsmanship were inculcated from a young age.
Gauri exhibits a distinct blend of business acumen and the passion of an artist. It is the former that led to her spotting a gaping hole in the Delhi baking market, where her hunt for a great cake led to disappointment. Her bewilderment (thankfully) led to her making those “great cakes” herself, and delighting us all in the process. While she had stumbled upon this promising business opportunity quite by accident, it was her desire to create that led the success that it now enjoys.
She follows a strong work ethic. With a smile, Gauri mentions how knowing the consequences of not being disciplined helps her toe the line. She is not unfamiliar with 18 hour workdays during the prime season. Particular about all details, this taskmaster seeks feedback from every patron and goes the extra mile to ensure a personal touch. Her extensive questionnaire that has to be filled while ordering a cake makes for a Sonata-Allegro if the cake being baked is a Symphony. “My philosophy is simple. Every cake is special. Every cake tells a story.” A truly satisfied customer leads to her utmost joy.
“I love coming to work,” she explains, while sharing how she molds her team from scratch. They are all women from an underprivileged background, trained and taught life skills along with this subtle art. They form her strength, and they form her family. Through online media, she ensures constant learning and experiments with new recipes, leading to a dynamic workplace. The incorrigible Delhi has pushed her to think above and beyond, adding an indelible flavour to her style of running the business.
From London’s stiff upper lip to the hustle of Chandni Chowk, it had been a massive transition. Gauri focused on the basics at the start, to get the fundamentals right. From baking 200 cookies in an oven which only fit 6, to opening and closing a store, to building expertise in fondant - Gauri has been through a 3.5 year roller coaster ride that fits a thrilling read. Home is her comfort spot, and while switching off is understandably a difficult task, she is working on carving out the essential ‘me time’. Her darling husband helped her when she used to be overworked in the early days, and her lessons in work life balance are heartening to know.
Her expertise in sugar paste was the result of her sharp business sense and penchant for quality. Unhappy with the quality of sugar paste available in the market, she decided to manufacture it herself. Since its consumption was driven by children, she sought out healthier options. By 400 trials over 365 days, she finally had it right, and since then, there has been no looking back. ‘Confect’ is gluten free, dairy free, nut free and 100% vegetarian. It is India’s first chef based product in this category to reach the masses commercially.
She claims to be absolute nuts about her work. We have no doubt about it. We are certainly absolute nuts over the desserts she doles out.