Whether you’re working in a restaurant, taking your dishes on the road with a food truck or even finishing orders in your home kitchen, today there are so many ways to turn your food business into a deliciously successful one, especially if you are into baking.
Wondering what it’s like to be a food entrepreneur?
Meet Mahwish Aziz, one of our ICCA alumni who left her job as a graphic designer to become a full-time baker to a successful entrepreneur today. She has done it all and was here with us to give us a glimpse into her world of sugar and butter.
Q. From a graphic designer to a cupcake designer or rather a full swing bakery owner. How did that happen?
There’s something about baking that I have always loved. I started off at the age of 11 with ready-to-mix cake baking and slowly picked it up from there. My passion for baking only kept growing which led to a small home based baking business which I continued doing even while I was working at the ad agency as a graphic designer.
Later, I felt the need to get professionally trained in my piping and decorating skills although I was pretty confident about my baking. So then I decided to quit my job at the agency and joined ICCA Dubai to do the Sugarcraft program which led me to do both cookery and patisserie programs. After all the professional training when I came back home, more orders started coming my way. And in a very short span of time, the volume of orders increased which was getting difficult for me to cope with at home, and that is when my father suggested opening up a bakery with a dedicated kitchen and a few staff to help with. That is how my bakery Sugaries was born.
Q. Tell us something about Sugaries.
Sugaries…is like my baby. It’s something that I have put together with a lot of support from my parents. I was so fond of the name that I had made the Sugaries logo when I was 17 or so. Actually, when my dad suggested this place to me I didn’t feel I was ready for something that big but everything went well and now we have a full fledged kitchen for the shop- we do caterings, party orders and everything patisserie.
Q. What are the most challenging aspects of running a bakery shop vis-à-vis a home bakery business?
Owning a bakery is not all about beautiful pink aprons and cute cupcakes. It’s obviously a trillion times challenging to have your own shop than baking from home. When you’re running a shop you’re depending a lot on your staff where you can’t be sure whether they can deliver the same quality as you do, although they are trained for it. You have to be alert about everything going on in the shop especially when you are travelling even if it’s for a day. But in my case, my shop is 2 minutes away from my house so even if I’m away for a day or two the shop is in my parents’ vicinity and that’s a blessing for me. Besides that, we deal with the usual day–to-day problems that any business could come across, or more since we are dealing with food here. It’s food industry after all and it’s not that easy; it comes with its own sets of challenges and troubles.
Q. How has ICCA helped you mould your career?
When you are learning from a bunch of talented chefs who have different approaches towards the industry and food, it is a great experience for the learner. You learn different ways to deal with the various aspects of the industry and moreover, it’s after coming to ICCA that I realized how much potential I have than I had ever thought. I was surprised and extremely emotional when I was announced the Chef of the Batch. I mean that gives you a lot more confidence to go out and get something done.
Q. Is there anything that you would like to say to the aspiring food entrepreneurs?
Have a focused mindset, know what you’re getting into and be determined to learn because this is your time to explore as much as you want, so make use of it. It is a wonderful career but be ready to take the critic and mindful of the fact that if you made a great cake today it could collapse the next day. Just take that with a pinch of salt.