Purna Chawla is a person who loves to experiment with tastes and this has made her the owner of Pune based home bakery – Layers: A chemistry of tastes. Team technwheelz had a quick chat with Purna to know more on her interests and her journey with cakes.
Q) Hi Purna, welcome to technwheelz. For us this is the first time we are covering an interview of a chef and we are really thrilled to get this done. Please introduce yourself to out readers.
A) Hello everyone!!! I am glad I have been given this opportunity to share my experience with all of you. I am Purna Chawla owner of Layers: A chemistry of tastes which is a fusion bakery. It has been a dream since my childhood to start a bakery of my own and I’m excited to be living it each and every day.
Q) What motivated you to be a chef?
A) My motivation for becoming a chef is associated to my juvenile memories, watching my daddy cook food when mom took break on Sunday’s from kitchen. This was the moment that got captured in my soul to light up a fire inside me driving me to become a chef someday in life.
During my college days we learnt something called as Farm to Fork. I used to prepare fresh things by plucking vegetables from the farm and cook immediately. All those are unforgettable memories.
Q) Why PATISSERIE?
A) My upbringing has been in a family which is quite fanatical about food but particularly round the sweets to be honest. During my childhood days, I used to just stand in the kitchen and kept looking at my grandma cooking Halwa. The way she made those Indian desserts were a treat to watch and taught me that your food one makes should not only taste good but also look good. This is when my craving for sweets took a boost and today is the time when I’m living it. Also, there is a role of my professor during the college days who found out this hidden talent of mine and showed confidence in me to choose this as my specialization.
Q) How different are you when it comes to experimenting with recipes?
A) I was always very creative and hence, wanted to do something different from others. So, I decided to take FUSION as my speciality because it is what I have always dreamt of and love doing and I keep working on it to get different and better results. And led me to experiment with Indian desserts and classical recipes of other cuisines to be fused together. Experimenting is the base of cooking but not to play with classics is my mojo.
Q) Which is your signature dish?
A) There is a long list of dishes I have tried and loved by my customers. But to name a few they are Rasmalai Cake, Gulab Jamun Cake, Bhoondi Rabdi Cake and so on.
Q) Your achievements
A) 3 years ago i wouldn’t have been at this stage. SO definitely i have achieved the first step of the ladder. Completed my higher diploma which made me a chef and started a bakery all by myself in Pune called Layers: a chemistry of tastes which in five months completed delivering 100 cakes. Currently have also become a co-owner at a café called ZIKO in Mumbai.
Q) Why and when you decided to work for yourself?
A) I always wanted to get into the food industry with my father as he loves food and i can relate this dream back to the time cooking with him. There was no specific time of deciding but it was eventually to it. Working for myself gave me the freedom to twist and turn the ideas that i want and the risk factor is just on my shoulders.
Q) Do you like travelling?
A) Travelling for a chef is exploring of ingredients that are new and unexplored. For me travelling is mix of relax and work. I love to backpack and just get to places that i have not seen. Recently i had a visit to a farm of my close friend in Girivan which was really unbelievable. Oregano and thyme that was freshly grown there just got me to invent more desserts.
Q) Which is your favourite destination?
A) I would definitely say North India and most specifically Rajasthan and Punjab areas. Being a foodie i love it there. They have such varied flavors in their food. I still have their memories on my pallet which cannot be forgotten ever. Their free flow of fats and spices is what I admire in them the most. The taste of every region is different.
Q) How do you like to travel?
A) I love travelling with friends or family especially my parents who are foodie themselves. Driving is my passion after cooking obviously I tend to drive the distances to make it more worthwhile where I meet new people on the way. My Tata Safari and me is the best way for me to travel I feel. I get to stop wherever I see something that catches my attention being it fields or any chai joint or a roadside fruit selling vendor.
Q) While travelling you might have come across a restaurant which you would recommend to others or would like to have a visit again. Any such?
A) I must say I am foodie and I love trying roadside snacks too. When was getting back to Pune from Konkan we had a stopover at Ratnagiri and trust me the fresh mangoes that you pluck from the tree and eat are nothing compared that you get in the market. They are fresh and have a unique taste in themselves. No preservative, Immediately my reaction was I ended up eating three standing there and bought 10 kg while on the way home.
Q) Where do you see yourself in near future ?
A) Future I see myself opening my own cloud kitchen that will have a huge manufacturing unit which can supply more and I wish to generate employment for the country in the way I can. Maybe someday I will have my name among the famous chefs. I request to the people who don’t like to cook just smell some spices and you would be determined to cook with them. Every person can cook, whether it is an instantly made maggi or any restaurant quality food but cooking helps you keep smile .
Thanks Purna for sparing your valuable time for technwheelz. All the best wishes for your business. Keep experimenting and keep us updated. Thanks !!