The field of baking and pastry arts is a small part of the food preparation industry. But in India, the baking industry is believed to be one of the fastest growing sector, thanks to rapid westernisation and the expansion of modern habits, the consumption of bakery products has gained widespread popularity among the masses in India. Of late, in line with the health and wellness trend gaining ascendancy, the demand for more healthy options in the bakery segment, which includes breads, cakes, pies, pastries, cupcakes, cookies, baked pet treats, tarts, etc, is becoming stronger. However, there exists a big gap as far as producing world class bakery products is concerned. What exacerbates the matter even further is the grossly inadequate supply of talented professional such as pastry chefs, lack of infrastructure at the grassroots level, lack of trained speciality instructors, lack of right exposure and sufficient exposure to world class baking techniques and standards.
At present, there are very few schools in India that offer professional training in the sector so the supply for skilled workers cannot keep up with the demand. The lack of sufficient professionally trained workers in bakery, patisserie and chocolate is actually preventing the sector from growing at its full potential. According to industry experts, the patisserie and chocolate segment is growing at around 15-18 per cent and the bread segment is growing by 4-5 per cent, majorly from the healthy and multi-grain bread. Buoyed by the prospects, an increasing number of international bakeries and patisseries have been opening outlets in India. At the same time, the opportunity for training skilled manpower for the industry is no less alluring. Unfortunately, while many established international players in the baking business have made a play for the Indian bakery market, there has been a dearth of initiatives for opening training enterprises for the burgeoning industry.
It was therefore a just cause for cheer when the Academy of Pastry Arts, a global brand in pastry making, opened shop in Gurgaon late last month. The Academy offers global standardised pastry making instruction and guidance and has built its reputation on being an international pastry school where professional pastry chefs offer specialised pastry-making skills to young pastry chefs and interested learners. This is the first instance of an international academy for pastry cooking foraying into the Indian market. The new centre in Gurgaon will carry the flaming torch of the Academy’s well-earned reputation in offering students and learners its famous course curriculum and globally standardised training in pastry making.
Pursuing a career as a pastry chef calls for good formal training because baking is considered to be a science, and one needs to be aware of highly technical subjects, such as food science and kitchen math. Training also helps to gain specialised skills related to cake decoration, pastry techniques, sugar artistry, pairing, plating, and more. Niklesh Sharma who is an executive pastry chef himself and also the director of the Academy’s Gurgaon school feels that the Academy’s school in Gurgaon will redefine interest levels in India for pastry making and baking arts. The centre offers specialised learning in curating artistic baking and pastry skills to all those who want to learn the finer nuances of pastry making.
The surge in interest for career and business options in the baking industry was visible at the international event on pastry delights, which was hosted by the Academy to celebrate its India launch. Not only was it marked by the presence of a bevy of national and international chefs, but also by a number of aspiring chefs and entrepreneurs. Ewald Notter, the World Pastry Champion and Tay Chee Siang and Tan Wei Loon, both Asia Pastry Champions, were in attendance as were many more renowned pastry chefs, who shared their recipes and techniques with pastry lovers and displayed their individual and combined skills and creativity. The event saw master chefs concoct world class pastries and rustle up exotic displays of the widely popular confectionary. For such a kindred gathering of bakery and pastry professionals from across the world, the event provided a unique platform to learn and share experiences and partner and network in a businesslike environment.
Similarly, many entrepreneurs wanting to venture into the pastry business and open patisseries could be seen interacting with pastry experts and sharing valuable professional tips and inputs on ingredients, machines, packaging equipment, accessories and a range of other products for the bakery and pastry industry. The overwhelming feeling resonating with all those present was that a baking career or business can be a viable and rewarding venture. All that you need is to grow and develop a passion for breads, cakes, cookies or pastries.