Shivesh Bhatia is all of 19, is a baker and blogs on bakewithshivesh.blogspot.in . His desserts look like they are straight out from Masterchef. It’s hard to believe he’s not a professionally trained chef. We speak to him about his blog and what inspires him to cook these beautiful baked dishes.
1. What inspired you to write a food blog?
To be very honest, I never wanted to start a blog. Blogging is a lot of work and I am a lazy person. I had been sharing pictures of my desserts on Instagram for a really long time but blogging wasn’t on my list. A lot of people on Instagram started asking me for recipes and being the person that I am, I could not say no. So, I had to e-mail the recipe individually to everyone who asked for it. I finally decided to make my own blog- Bake With Shivesh when I realised that e-mailing recipes is a tougher job. When I started blogging in December 2014, I was overwhelmed with the kind of support that I received. Today I can just thank all those lovely people on Instagram who literally forced me into starting my blog.
2. When you try out a new recipe and it doesn’t work out, what do you do?
I am the most careful person in the kitchen. I make sure I do everything properly. I have never ever burnt a cake and that is because I sit in front of my oven for as long as the cake takes to bake completely. So that doesn’t happen too often with me. I try to find solutions for anything that goes wrong. The first time I tried making strawberry galettes, they just opened up in the oven. But there was no way I was wasting so many strawberries. So I took a cake tin, lined it with baking sheet and placed all the baked galettes on it. I topped the galette layer with layers of candied oranges, dragon fruit and sponge cake crumbs and used a sticky homemade caramel syrup to bind all the layers together. Two hours in the refrigerator and what I had now was a fruit pie-cake!
3. Where do you take inspiration from for your recipes?
I don’t really get recipe inspiration from anywhere. I just bake what I feel like baking that day. If it is a bright sunny day, I’ll probably make a lemon cake. If I want something chocolaty, I’ll quickly bake a basic chocolate cake or some gooey brownies. If I have a lot of time on hand, I’ll do something fancy like a layer cake. If I feel like experimenting, I’ll get myself to make a pie or a tart. If I find oranges in the fridge, I’ll make some orange curd. I am an instinctive person in kitchen. I don’t really plan my recipes. I just bake whatever I feel like eating or something that my family demands. When it comes to styling my desserts, I am really inspired by Linda Lomelino who is a Swedish baker and food blogger.
4. How was the initial response towards your work?
I consider myself lucky when it comes to the response to my work. It has been unbelievable. Since the very beginning, I have received a positive feedback from people. My followers on Instagram are super sweet. I have made beautiful connections with a lot of beautiful people there. I really does feel great when you are told you inspire people. I don’t think there is a feeling more satisfying than that.
5. What’s next for Bake With Shivesh?
I am currently doing a collaboration with my favourite brand FoodHall. . I am basically doing four very interesting recipes for them using my favourtie ingredients from FoodHall. Three of the recipes are already up on my blog for people to read and try. The first recipe is a peach and blackberry gelatte and the second recipe is a summer cooler recipe. The third recipe is a respberry-redcurrant ice-cream. The lastrecipes will also be up on the blog soon. My experience with FoodHall has been wonderful. They have a team of the sweetest people and it is a pleasure to work with them. Also, I am conducting a baking workshop in Delhi on 2nd August. That has been keeping me busy. After that gets over, I’ll take but more interesting collaborations for the blog. I also plan to work on a few eggless recipes and some breakfast posts.
6. What according to you is the biggest baking faux pas by Indians?
Umm, trying to whip Amul’s fresh cream?
7. Which dessert would you say has been your best creation by far?
It has to be my vanilla poppy seed cake. I think I am obsessed with that recipe. It is a four layer vanilla poppy seed cake with raspberry compote filling and meringue frosting. To make it even better, it is decorated with white chocolate barks, meringue kisses and blanched almonds. I feel that this cake is perfect for any occasion.
8. What are your three go to flavours for any dessert?
Lemon, chocolate, vanilla.
9. How does it feel to be one of the recognized names in the pastry world at a young age of 19?
I don’t think I am a ‘recognized name in the pastry world’ but it definitely feels unreal when someone like Pooja Dhingra notices your work and invite to her studio for a chat!
10. When did you first realize that you had fallen in love with baking?
My nani was an avid baker. She used to make the best chocolate cakes! I have grown up finishing big chocolate cakes that she used to make. She suffered from a paralytic attack in 2011 and could not move after that. One day, my cousins and I decided to bake something because we missed fighting over her lovely cakes. We got a box of Betty Crocker cake mix and made cupcakes. We burnt a couple of them and covered the rest under layers of Betty Crocker frosting. I was in class 11th then. After that, I never stopped baking and it has been three years now!
11. Which pastry chef do you idolize?
Linda Lomelino. I tumbled upon her blog even before I started baking and was completely awed by how pretty her desserts looked. I’d always be grateful to her for introducing me to this wonderful world of baking.