Brownies are one of the few treats that our moms would bake in the oven. Quite simple and easy to make but you must remember that in terms of flavor, brownies should be rich and bold. Brownies have always been a popular dessert among children and are very nostalgic for young adults. They are definitely a crowd favorite among sugary treats. It’s hard to say no to a good brownie and this dessert does definitely hold a special place in every Goan’s heart.
Khatija Khan is a new entrepreneur in the hospitality field in Goa and she definitely knows her brownies. The Brownie Hub started because of Khatija’s desire to try her hand at baking during the pandemic in 2020. But the brand grew with her yearn to educate the Goan audience of the difference between cakes and brownies and develop new recipes to challenge the disappointing brownies available in the Goan market. At Goan Insider, we are always on the lookout for the newest baked goods in Goa and we urge everyone to try The Brownie Hub’s delightful desserts. Though her Ferrero Rocher brownie is the crowd favorite, we are pretty excited about the new flavors, cookies and cream, salted caramel, and Lindt chocolate brownie to name a few. Khatija takes great pride in making her bars the right consistency. This new food business is one that every food blogger and foodie in Goa should watch out for.
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The mission of The Brownie Hub is to create memorable experiences with brownies by creating a scrumptious assortment of unique flavors and spread it across Goa. Read about our conversation with Khatija below.
Tell us a little about yourself. How did your passion for baking start?
I was born in Goa and raised in a family that always indulged in having home-cooked meals for various functions. As a kid, I watched my mother bake cakes for birthdays and festive occasions. I’d always help her with baking as it fascinated me. I’ve been a dessert freak since my childhood. I have ordered cupcakes, brownies, and cakes from various home bakers and visited various cafés only for their desserts.
In 2020, I had recently graduated from college but due to COVID-19, like everyone else, I was at home without a job and had pretty much nothing to do. As boredom struck me, during quarantine, I would be in the kitchen baking cakes and brownies from scratch and would give them to my close family and friends. That’s when they all encouraged me to start taking orders from home and now there’s no looking back. With the little money that I had at that time, I invested it in purchasing baking equipment for myself.
What inspired you to start ‘The Brownie Hub’?
During this pandemic, I was separated from something I loved, brownies. I started baking my own brownie with the help of my driving force, my mother. Thanks to her, I already knew how to bake but I still wanted to learn how to get that look of perfectly decorated brownies. The thought behind ‘The Brownie Hub’ was to make people aware of the difference between cakes and brownies. Most people in Goa assumed that cakes and brownies are one and the same, whereas cakes are soft and fluffy, while brownies are more crunchy and have a dense texture. After many trials and errors, I managed to have a range of varieties. I made sure that each brownie was different from the other. Recently, I got registered under FSSAI for Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. All our brownies are made from scratch and are customized as per their requirement. Hence, this gives me satisfaction and the longing to do better each time. This small start-up made me do wonders and I aspire to grow it up step-by-step in the future.
What do you like in pastry that you cannot find in other culinary fields?
In baking you hit the right spot, that is the sweet tooth. You don’t really have to offer a meal to someone but have to treat them to the best dessert. This branch involves techniques and skills which show your real skills and patience. Usually, people who bake, spread happiness by crowning someone’s birthday with cakes, dunk over cookies to celebrate a holiday, and whip up brownies because who doesn’t love chocolate? But it’s more than creating something sweet, it is a product of self-expression and communication
What are the tasty treats one can buy from The brownie hub? What are your best sellers?
As the brand name says it is all brownies! We have a mind-blowing variety of brownies, which no one has ever tasted in Goa. Our best seller is Ferrero Rocher brownie. Most of the customers love that.
Where do you find inspiration for each of your creations?
I find inspiration from myself because I love dessert. I love putting chocolate in whatever I eat so I thought of getting something for people to try with chocolate. And now I know what are my customers wants and needs. Through that, I get ideas for my new creations.
At which point do you think party turns into art?
Baking is a skill anyone can learn, but what makes someone different is when they apply their skill to their creative imagination. It’s like how every musician uses the same instrument but it’s their individual artistry that allows them to produce different music each time. The experience and philosophies play an important role in the way it works. So I use flavor, texture, and visual appearance to produce the art piece.
What are the key ingredients you cannot live without?
Nothing but CHOCOLATE, CHOCOLATE, and just a lot of CHOCOLATE!
How has the response been towards your brand?
Initially, it took a while to capture customers’ attention through social media like WhatsApp, Instagram & Facebook. Eventually, the word of mouth publicity, good reviews on social media helped a lot. Many foodservice businesses across the state were closed to dine-in but our service of delivering the brownie on time was also a contributing factor in gaining a positive response.
How do you advertise your business?
Through social media like WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook.
Could you describe your worst baking disaster?
Uff! The worst baking disaster was getting out smokey brownies. There is a saying in Hindi “Nazar hatti tho durgathna ghati”, This is exactly what happened with me.
What gets you excited about this company?
The most exciting part is each day. I’m at my workplace after waking up, so I don’t need to dress formally and do the job. When you’re your own boss, you will find motivation at work each day. Apart from this, I’m following my passion. I’m able to control my schedule, I make the rules and I’m not restricted to anything like a corporate job. Each day is a new day that helps me enhance my skills in turn increasing customer satisfaction. I am creative, experiment, and do my best to gain confidence and make sure customers come back again.
I’m sure it’s was not an easy road while starting your business. How have you managed to keep it aflote during the pandemic?
Yes! It wasn’t easy to start a business in this pandemic but I still started it in August 2020. Allahumduillah it’s all going well still. I used to provide offers and discounts during the pandemic. And yes, all the love and support from family friends and good reviews from customers has helped me.
How can our readers stay connected with you and your brand?
You can stay connected with me through my socials, Instagram and Facebook.
What are you working on now ? Anything exciting you can tell us about?
Yes, I have launched 5 new types of brownies which no one has yet on their menu in Goa. Cookies and cream, salted caramel, hazelnut cream, Lindt chocolate brownie, and butterscotch brownie. The exciting thing is making a customized brownie cake which is totally different from a normal cake.
Where do you picture ‘The Brownie Hub’ in 5 years?
With change happening faster, many new people are entering the business. Hence, the competition is increasing and it’s very hard to predict what’s going to happen five years from now. But contrary to this, it is very important to be very strategic in order to survive. Firstly, we plan to commit and maintain the name we got until now. The next step would be to reach out to a larger group of customers outside Margao and reach every part of Goa. If things go well and support from almighty Allah, we might shortly get into food delivery chains like Zomato, Swiggy and also partner with some good dealers and buyers who would like to keep and sell our products. It’s a tough road ahead but hope we get there.
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