Gourmet home chef Vanita Tondon of Brown's reveals why her quarantine business is booming
The lockdown has been slowing everything down except Vanita Tondon’s home bakery Brown’s. Tondon’s artisanal gourmet bakery is famous for its Mediterranean breads, one-of-a-kind European desserts, and stunningly curated Italian spreads. And Tondon tells us people of the city have been craving homely but authentic international options, especially now.
“People have been ordering in a lot more since the lockdown began, since they don’t have access to their favourite patisseries. I’ve been experimenting with Oriental numbers as well during this time. I posted about the mapo tofu on social media, and got an order the very next day!” Tondon reveals.
So, how does the baker keep it up and running amid a lockdown? Here’s all that you need to know if you plan on ordering some gourmet grub from Brown’s:
How has the lockdown affected your business?
The lockdown has made my business grow, especially since people are not as spoilt for choice right now. There aren't too many safe options if you want to order out, the bakeries and restaurants are shut. The demand is way higher, especially since I'm functioning with limited staff, only with employees who have been living with me. But we've been consistently working.
Is it difficult to source the right ingredients amid a lockdown?
It's harder to acquire fresh ingredients readily, which is why we request our customers to give us a 2-3 day window so I can plan my purchases and I can go to the market once every four days to buy fresh veggies and meat. But when it comes to other ingredients like sauces etc, my suppliers are still delivering.
What are some of the safety precautions you’ve adapted?
Of course, we've been using disposable gloves whenever we are handling food, or kneading dough. I'm using my dough kneader a lot more so there's minimal contact. We are all wearing masks and sanitizing regularly.
What are the kind of orders you're getting amid a lockdown?
Since I make meals and Mediterranean platters as well, if someone wants to have a nice meal at home they can order in a feast and some dessert altogether. The Mediterranean platters come with falafel, pita, then there's Greek salad, hummus, it's a great supper option for 3-4 people. Our mango gateaux is doing exceptionally well. I only use alphonso mangoes in them along with one and a half pounds of chantilly cream which is layered along with chunks of mangoes.
You're coming up with a commercial kitchen..
Yes, in fact, we were supposed to shift into my central kitchen by this Poila Baishakh, but plans were obviously postponed. So far, I've been working out of my home and now I'm running out of space, especially considering the volumes we're now handling. The plan was to move to a larger functioning unit which includes catering, meal pop-ups, group lunches. We're waiting for the lockdown to end, we still have like a month's work left