The Pink Basil’s Arsheen Aman is making 100 cakes a month, as Kolkata turns to French pastry for comfort
Arsheen Aman’s home-based patisserie The Pink Basil just turned one and the chef tells us that amid all the unpredictabilities, there have been a few constants. “I always wanted to open up a bakery in Kolkata and I always wanted to name it The Pink Basil. So, naturally, I stuck to the name when I considered starting out on a smaller scale,” Arsheen shares. The pastry chef was training as an intern at one of the top-tier hotels in Mumbai, right after earning a coveted culinary degree from the Academy of Pastry & Culinary Arts. At the moment, The Pink Basil offers one of the most authentic line-ups of classic French pastry in the city, as well as some contemporary celebration cakes.
“I was planning to complete my internship and return to Kolkata and open something new. But that didn’t quite pan out, due to the pandemic. I got my first order via a friend, it was quite random. I wasn’t planning on doing something along this format. Once I started posting pictures, all these queries started coming in and I figured it makes sense to explore selling from my own kitchen,” Arsheen says.
The biggest USP of the menu is perhaps the balance of classical and fusion recipes; despite sticking to a niche dessert line The Pink Basil manages to ramp up an ingredient-driven curation with its modernist entremets (the Ferrero Rocher & Nutella Mousse Entremet is a hot-seller) or the newly introduced mango and cream cheese eclair (with a classic choux Choux dough pastry base).
“Not a lot of home-based kitchens are offering bona fide French pastries; we also tend to use some great ingredients, and I’m also trying to update my menu. Just recently I got started on curating my fruit dessert menu, featuring blueberry and lemon curd bakes,” shares the baker, who also reveals she bakes close to a whopping 100 cakes a month!
Marketing a home-based bakehouse has become substantially easier post-2020 when independent kitchens graduated from a micro-trend to a full-blown phenomenon. But a terrific social media presence aside, The Pink Basil is yet to rely on publicity strategies or any substantial marketing. “I did have a food blog and that had quite a few followers, so when I started my own label it only helped. But I’m just beginning to think about adverts, so far I would say my growth has been organic. Last year, especially people started realising that home bakers offer more, in terms of diversity since we are updating our menus every so often, there’s a lot more happening in terms of creation,” Arsheen remarks.
A box of six brownies from The Pink Basil cost Rs 540
Cakes start from Rs 800