A tete-a-tete with the award-winning blogger and author- Shivesh Bhatia
The virtual world has given a platform to numerous talented people to showcase their skills. Although there are dime a dozen bloggers everywhere, very few manage to catch one’s attention. One such blogger and baker who has managed to make everyone sit up and take notice of his works is the 22-year-old Shivesh Bhatia.
However, being an Instagram celebrity was the last thing on Shivesh’s mind a few years ago. “Everyone in my school was using Instagram. I probably was the only one who wasn’t. So I joined it and started uploading random photos and if you scroll down my gallery today, you will see that I have taken some really bad pictures!” laughs the Delhi-boy who has over 134000 followers on Instagram and runs the super successful website www.bakewithshivesh.com
Currently a student of advertising and PR at Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Delhi, Shivesh’s tryst with baking began with a disastrous cake mix when he was in the 11th standard. “My maternal grandmother loved baking and my mom also used to bake for the longest time. As a kid, I would often sit on the kitchen counter and watch them bake. After my nani’s demise, I really missed the chocolate cake that she would often bake for us. Then I realised that if I wanted to eat the same cake, I had no choice but to bake it myself,” he exclaims. But the first thing that Shivesh baked was a batch of vanilla cupcakes with his cousins. “We got Betty Crocker cake mix and still managed to burn a couple of cupcakes! However, I enjoyed the entire process so much that I decided to do it more often,” he laughs.
No wonder his motto is “If I can bake, so can you”. His first book ‘Bake with Shivesh’ echoes a similar sentiment too and is a bestseller on Amazon. “From simple tips and basics like the difference between whipping, folding and cutting, I have tried to share information in a friendly manner as possible. There are over 50 recipes and I have also touched upon food styling. There is also a technical session on understanding your camera and how to take photographs even with your phone camera because in this day and age, it’s important for food to look as good as it tastes.”
Does he have any recipes that budding bakers can easily try at home? “The Back to Basics Chocolate Cake on my blog is extremely popular. It’s really easy to make and no one has ever got it wrong.” Ask him about his inspirations and he says, “I stumbled upon this Swedish blog called ‘Call Me Cupcakes’ even before I got into baking seriously. I was just enchanted by her works and I am yet to see anyone who does a better job than her on baking and photography.”
Since he likes a touch of tartness in his desserts, lemons and berries are his favourite ingredients to work with. As someone who has traveled the world, the best pastry that Shivesh had was in Copenhagen, Denmark. “It was the iconic sports cake from Conditori la Glacé – a place that has been around for 80 years. The choux pastry is so delicious and you would think that there’s only so much cream you can eat. But it’s so light that you can finish it all.”
But is the baking scene in India lagging behind when compared to the rest of the world? He answers, “Indian sweets don’t require baking so in the olden days, 90 percent of Indian households never even had an oven. But that’s not the case anymore. More and more people are experimenting with baking and even more, are going abroad to study it. But since we started late, there is a lot that we need to catch up on. However, it’s a great time to be in the baking industry and we are surely headed in the right direction.”
Shivesh now hopes to start his own YouTube channel and also write another book. With millions of bloggers out there on social media, his advice to budding bloggers is to stay unique and create original content. “Success in blogging doesn’t happen overnight. Start your blog not just because others are doing it but for your true passion and for the right reason. Also, bring something fresh to the table and build a connection with your followers. There are people who have been following me for many years and still leave their feedback every single day on my posts. That’s probably my biggest achievement. The audience gets bored too after a point so keep innovating and surprising them.”
He further adds, “As for me, I was whipping up one disaster after another for the longest time and discarding cakes after cakes. I never imagined that I would be doing a book with Harper Collins someday! So be patient and don’t lose hope.”