The accidental baker

Food blogger-food stylist-author Shivesh Bhatia released his third book at Andaz Delhi on Sunday

It all began with a disaster 10 years back. But the then 16-year-old, undeterred by the outcome of this incident, persisted with his efforts as he had realised his love for being in the kitchen. “I was trying to replicate my naani’s (maternal grandmother) chocolate cupcake recipe but ended up being unsuccessful. However, I found I enjoyed that space and began experimenting with recipes and baking while studying political science at Hindu College, Delhi University,” says Shivesh Bhatia, now 26. 

A food blogger, food stylist and an author, Bhatia was an academically inclined child. “I took up political science to become a lawyer but I just couldn’t imagine doing anything else apart from baking and content creation. Also, I had started generating a stable income. This helped me convince my parents that this is where my passion was and this is what I wanted to do in the long run,” he avers. 

Ever since he realised that baking was his calling, Bhatia dreamt of authoring a book on the subject one day. “When I started off on my journey, I bought a lot of baking cookbooks but writing seemed a farfetched thought. However, in 2017, I got a DM from the editor of Harper Collins to know if a cookbook was something I would be interested in writing,” says Bhatia, adding he thought it to be a spam message. “But it was real. Thereafter, I met Shreya from the Harper Collins team and our visions aligned,” he says. That’s how his maiden attempt at penning a book came together. “At times, I felt unsure of the task ahead but I persisted and my writing experience, Baking With Shivesh, took shape and became the biggest learning curve of my life,” he adds. 

Bhatia is now ready with his next book, Eggless Baking, which will be launched this evening at Andaz Delhi. Published by HarperCollins (pages 192; Price 1299), the hardback has been in the pipeline for many years. “People have constantly asked me what they could use as a replacement for eggs which is when I realised a large part of Indian audience didn’t end up baking because they weren’t aware of eggless recipes,” shares Bhatia. So, he started experimenting with recipes with substitutes that not only made them taste good but looked visually aesthetic. When the time came to decide on the topic of the next book, there were no points for guessing that it was going to be Eggless Baking With Shivesh. “I hope it helps all the eggless bakers out there,” he says.

Sharing his thoughts on how different he is from other authors who fall in the same genre, Bhatia says, “One big differentiating factor is that authors usually try to focus on the text aspect of the cookbook but in my case, I was involved not only in the recipes but in the visual aspect. Being involved in everything is more demanding in terms of the effort but this process is what made me feel closer to the book and give my own personal touch.”

Once a project ends, Bhatia readies to face another challenge. “I feel there is always something new waiting for me to try digitally and achieve greater milestones. I would love to start an online course and create more video content for various platforms. I would also like to work on a range of baking products as we could use better quality bakeware in India. Then, I would like to author more books and maybe start a cafe or a bakery in the times to come.”

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