Dessert lovers are always mesmerized and show a lot of enjoyment in sweet masterpieces created by various pastry chefs. Pastry Chefs go out of their way to ensure their customers have the best experience. comes to designing a dish, everything is thought out very carefully. They don’t do something just for the sake of doing something. These chefs plan the story; get inspired by something – an ingredient, a person, or an art piece. They believe it’s really important to share these stories with the guests and let them feel their inspiration
Full of Frolique was founded by Radha Shinkre, a pastry chef and recipe developer who practices sustainable baking. She has a rustic and minimalistic cake decor style and also accepts orders. Radha studied at the prestigious Culinary Arts Academy in Switzerland, being one of the best culinary schools in the world. These schools do bring about a change in you as a chef and you do learn a lot of theory – how the chefs see a tomato; what would they do if they receive a potato. This experience changes one’s life, observing all with different approaches, and eventually attempting to find your own. Many Goans have a passion for pastry but don’t know how to proceed. Questions keep coming to their mind such as, “Should I continue running my small business?”, “Should I go to culinary school?” Radha’s formula is to just go for it. Chase your dreams.
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At Goan Insider we caught up with Radha, a young and accomplished chef who is working on a new concepts and planning to reopen her cafe soon. The excerpts of our conversation are below.
Tell us a little about yourself. What got you interested in baking?
As a young girl, I had dreams of seeing the whole world. Traveling in India and abroad has helped me in developing a wider, unconventional perspective about life, which has greatly affected my business choices. Having grown up watching cooking shows on Travel & Living Channel, I would try to recreate dishes made by Nigella Lawson using local ingredients. Hot dishes worked out well, but cakes and desserts wouldn’t take shape as they cannot be made without a perfect recipe. During high school, my goal was to have a career in psychology but that somehow took a turn in the later years of college. I decided to pursue a specialized course in Swiss Pastry and Chocolate Arts in Switzerland. After my course, I landed an internship at the pastry kitchen of JW Marriott Marquis in Dubai, soon after I got my first job at the same place. After working there for over two years I moved back home to join the family business and start my café – Frolique.
What is the inspiration behind the name Cafe Frolique?
When I started working on the name, I had three points in mind. Firstly, the
name had to resonate with me personally; secondly, should sound modern and premium – as will all the products sold would be and thirdly should have a meaning behind it making it intriguing. My brand name Frolique is inspired by the word Frolic which means lively, cheerful, playful, which completely matched with the vibe I wanted to create at my cafe.
Did you ever get formal training or did you just jump right into business?
Getting into the food business had been my career goal since college. Thereafter, every decision I took had been to enhance my skills. I got kitchen management training at my pastry school and workplace. I got
operations and financial management training working with my dad in his
hospitality business. And some self-learning of course as there are new things to learn as the business develops.
How was your experience at the Culinary Arts Academy in Switzerland? Why did you choose to go there?
To actually work with and taste all the exotic ingredients that I had seen only on TV was phenomenal. Classes were stressful at times, I had practical exams every week so it was a continuous learning and creative thinking process. I chose CAA as it’s one of the best culinary schools in the world. And living in Switzerland would be a dream come true, it’s beautiful at every nook and corner. Also, I’m the biggest Federer fan in India, was hoping to watch him play live.
What were some of the key tips you picked up when you were doing your internship at JW Marriott Marquis?
The internship gave me a chance to hone my skills and techniques, provided exposure to the operations of the hospitality industry. Other than that I learnt how to work as a part of a team, planning & time management, converting baking disasters into edible desserts, etc.
What is the hardest part of being now a professional baker and owning your own business?
It’s difficult to get skilled staff especially in South Goa city limits, important
ingredients are overpriced and the climatic conditions here don’t suit European style pastries.
How do you market your products?
Marketing is a dynamic process, you have to keep inventing new ideas Some of mine have been inviting fashion studios to exhibit their line at the
café, collaborating with home chefs to have a special menu pop- up, creating e-occasion and season-based menus, to name a few. Instagram and Facebook groups also help a lot.
The Covid19 pandemic hit the world unexpectedly. What were you doing prior to the pandemic and how did you cope once the pandemic hit?
I was running the café, hotel, and restaurant. The pandemic came as an
unexpected turn leaving me with no other option but to temporarily close
down operations. During the lockdown, I got the chance and time to get back to my real passion – baking! The word spread and I started getting orders, which keeps me busy now till date.
Could you describe your creative process?
Creativity is just imagination; I am able to visualize flavor combinations in my mind without tasting them, which gives birth to new desserts. I follow zero- waste and sustainable baking, with which I have created my own individual style of minimalistic design and fully edible and/or biodegradable cakes and packaging.
What have been your most satisfying moments in business?
Pleasant feedback and reviews are fulfilling. When customers would come back for more or recommend my place to others made me very happy.
Which are your best sellers or must try items?
Currently, the café is closed, I am selling cakes and desserts on pre-order. Some of my best sellers are:-
Frolique Special Milk Chocolate Brownie
Russian Honey Cake
Chocolate Mud Cake
Tres Leches Cake
New York Cheesecake
Pecan Nut Tart
Key Lime Tart
What skill would you say is most important for you to have in your line of work?
Human Resource management is critical in the hospitality industry, apart from culinary, marketing, and communication skills. Keep the staff happy and they will make sure the customers are happy.
What was the worst baking disaster you ever had, that you still just cannot get over?
At JW Marriott Marquis, Dubai, the tallest hotel in the world with over 1600 rooms, we would cater to over 3000 people on a daily basis, the job was hectic and high pressure. I over baked 20, one-kilo pecan nut tarts one evening! It had taken me around two hours just to make them and those couldn’t be used. Two hours down the drain, so much food wasted. Can’t get over it.
What advice do you have for other women who want to launch their own business?
Go ahead, do it! It’s only when you dream big, your dreams come true.
With the current situation, how do you see the hospitality and baking industry transforming going forward?
Covid will get a vaccine, sooner or later and normality will return sooner or later. We have a much bigger problem than Covid which is saving our mother earth from human destruction. I would like to see sustainable business practices, which involves avoiding no single-use plastic, conscious use of water, and reduced food waste. This is the least everyone can start with.
How can our readers stay connected with you as well as your brand?
What is next for Cafe Frolique? Anything exciting you can tell us about?
I am working on a new concept, planning to reopen soon. Stay tuned!
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