SAMA’S Kitchen: Interview of a successful mompreneur

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How did you come up with the idea of Sama’s Kitchen?

I have to go through my childhood memories if I need to explain how I started or came up with the idea of Sama’s Kitchen. My father served in army when I was a child. Belonging to the army community, my mother used to get the opportunity to take part in Ladies Club. In Ladies Club, cooking training classes were arranged that were instructed by the renowned chefs of various big hotels. When I was in class five or six, my mother got training in bakery course. After completing that course, my mother began to bake various stuffs like cakes, biscuits. At that time, there was no advanced oven, so my mother used to make cakes on stove pouring some sand beneath the cake. I found those things very interesting such as, cake dough, biscuit making casts, and how gradually cakes and biscuits form its ultimate shape. Like this, my first basic baking related learning is from my mother. Later I tried to learn the detailing of baking from different books and television programs.

 

                                                                                                        Tasnuva Sheikh Oyshi

 

Within the time, I completed my S.S.C and H.S.C exams. As I have been to baking since my childhood, I have better knowledge in baking now. When you learn something at a very early age, unconsciously you will learn a lot of things that I understood very early, like the certain temperature for baking to come perfectly, how much egg is needed to add or how much ingredients needed to add to get the desired size of the cake. While I grew up, my cooking skills got better. Whenever there was a get together, I always used to make one or the other desserts.

I got married while I was studying B.B.A in AIUB. When I first met my husband I made a cake for him which he highly appreciated. I have started my job life just after my graduation. I gave birth to a daughter in 2012. I conceived again after the birth of my daughter and in 2014 I gave birth to my son. Thereafter I realized it will be great difficult to continue my job with the two children. So I started to think what else can be done together while taking care of the children. After that, it struck my mind that I have been baking since childhood and I am also skilled in cooking and instantly I decided to do something with baking. Hence, I started to search for baking courses from the internet. At that time, the related information was not easily available. After a lot of searching, I found an Indian woman who was staying in Bangladesh for a time being and was teaching a baking course. I took part on that course and learned a lot of things. We all in the class, used to call her Mili apa. I got to learn about several previous faults in my baking from that course of Mili apa and build myself more skilled in baking.

From then on I began to take few orders and took part in many food stalls of fair. Every customer used to appreciate and encourage after having my baking items. From these food stalls in fair, I got the opportunity to contact with two to three hotel chefs. I did some course with them as well. Doing those courses developed my baking skills more. One of the chefs among them introduced me to a departmental store. Owner of the departmental store said to me that ‘your food quality is so good, so why don’t you deliver food in our store?’ I felt good about the matter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I made my trade license and began to deliver food to that store. I was more encouraged and enthusiast to take it to a professional level so I started a baking related course in Parjatan. After completing the course in Parjatan, I got the opportunity to do intern in a five star hotel. This is how Sama’s Kitchen started its journey. I believe if you are dedicated enough and confident about your future and set your goal for at least upcoming five years, then no one can stop you. One door shall open automatically after one another. My family has always been a great support throughout my journey and I am grateful to them.

The reason behind the name of Sama’s Kitchen?

My daughter’s name is Samara Ali. From her name, comes the name Sama’s Kitchen. My husband though said I can put my name as well but I always felt my daughter is very lucky for me as after her birth, I decided to take baking as a profession. Also, when she will grow up, she will be able to value and understand the emotion behind its name. So, keeping this in mind, I kept its name as Sama’s Kitchen.

What is your dream or future plan regarding Sama’s Kitchen?

I want to create a working field with a big platform for women. I normally regard this shop as a cake boutique shop. Because it is a form of art and lot of emotion is surrounded with it. Customers ask to create cake to portray their special moments in my boutique shop. To fulfill their expectation 100%, I want to make 3D of the cakes they would order in future. I want to use technology. In our country, at most five to ten flavors are used. I want to make several other variations in flavors.

From business view point, I believe cake industry can go a long way. For this reason, I want to make Sama’s Kitchen to bloom to a cake design training institute in future so women can learn from here and can build up their own business out of it and be independent.

Why Sama’s Kitchen is different from other bakery shops?

I have done training in various institutions. Even I have taken trainings to create the same cake in different places, and used which is the best one among them. There are different ways to make different parts of a cake. I use the best options so that my cake comes up with the best results. I almost use more than twelve varieties of flavor. I never compromise with my quality. Best quality materials are always purchased. The tagline I use for Sama’s Kitchen is “ Taste the difference quality makes”.

I always give prior to the valuable time of my clients. I have been working for almost five years but never missed to deliver on time. Moreover, I taste various foods at different places and because of this I can say confidently that my cakes follow international standards.

Which type of cake do you love most to design? Gaye holud? Birthdays? Anniversaries?

I usually enjoy creating cake of every possible themes but I love to create floral patterned themed cake very much.

How do you communicate with customers? Do you have any catalogue? Do the customer send you cake designs and you modify those to make it professional?

As this is an online based boutique cake shop, customers order cakes through the facebook page. They message us their requirements. Such as most of the customers like to order themed based cake, like cartoon character or any popular theme. We work in detail after getting the idea from them. Sometimes they send pictures of cake samples to create similar kind of cake designs. We suggest different options when required. For instance, when they can’t perceive the quantity required for particular theme based cake. In many cases, we propose suggestions like when a customer wants harry potter theme based cake for 200 guests but we perceive that this particular cake can’t be very large. Beside this, in special request, we assist and deliver cakes or related food items to their home or event addresses. In some events, we arrange and decorate dessert corners, making the corners more fascinating and appealing.

Tell us about the management of Sama’s Kitchen.

I am the only owner of Sama’s Kitchen. I have four to five members working as a team who are highly dedicated and for their exceptional effort, I am able to direct Sama’s Kitchen with such a good reputation over these five years. 90% of customers collect cakes from my cake boutique shop. For big occasions, we deliver the cakes on that spot fixing the service charge. In demand, we assign attendants to serve our delicacies. The design of the cake is done by me.

Apart from the normal pastries, what type of ingredients do you choose and what are their uses? At present, cake has photographs on it. How do you use these photographs?

Starting from the pastries to the designed cakes, our ingredients or materials are of high quality. I usually purchase the materials from foreign countries. For each cake, new kinds of tool like, moulds, sticks are required and we buy these analyzing their quality. We always purchase cake colorings from foreign countries so that, the taste remains intact. In terms of photographs, I would say it is a very easy task. We print photographs in edible sugar papers. It is a special kind of paper that is edible but for this, high resolution photo is required. Nowadays, everyone wants pictures like their wedding or engagements and even corporate office companies also want their logo images on the cake.

 

How many order do you accept everyday and how much time do you take to deliver one order? What is the price range of your cakes?

Everyday I require to bake almost more than five cakes along with some other dessert items. I need to be informed before three to four days to confirm the order but in rush hour, I need to be informed before a week. The expense of the cake is determined from different issues. There is a price list depending on the weight of the cake. Beside this, the price depends on the design of the cake like, if the cake is fondant or the cake is gum-paste or some has lacework and some even has photo prints on it.

What qualities one should have to be an expert cake designer?

1. One should have extreme patience.

2. Must have dedication as it might take about 3am to 4am at night to complete the work.

3. One needs to have leadership quality. Because when you are working for 10 to 15 cakes, it is not possible to work all by yourself. That is why; you need to guide the members of your team to bring out the best output.

4. One needs to practice a lot, if possible need to take institutional cake training courses.

5. Must be conscious about hygiene issues.

6. Must be sensitive about time management. Decisions like which part of work should be given prior first and others accordingly, should be handled properly.

7. At leisure times, reading various cake related articles and watching videos in YouTube, is better to be practiced.

8. Must have the proper knowledge about the quantity of the ingredients to be used. Must be expert on own oven applications.

9. Must have knowledge about color combinations.

10. Must have passion for designing.

 

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