It’s hard to say no to desserts – even after a heavy meal. Divya Nair from Delhi agrees that it can’t be any truer – except in her case, she cannot resist baking desserts, even after a long day of the usual 9-to-5 grind. This 24-year old graduate from SRCC, Delhi University and a post graduate from IIMC, Delhi is serving some serious inspirations with her post-work baking stories, and her heavenly bakes!
R&L had a quick chat with Divya to know more about this self- taught baker and her food blogging journey, how she manages a 9 to 5 job and her passion for baking and more.
Hi Divya, please introduce yourself.
I am Divya Nair, a 24-year-old girl, born and brought up in Delhi but a native of Kerala. I have always been a proud Delhite. I did my B Com (H) from SRCC, M Com from DU, and then PGD Advertising and PR from Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Delhi (IIMC).
Apart from being a nerd, I love to bake, draw, dance and click pictures. What you might not know about me is that I am also a trained Bharatanatyam dancer and I love to doodle and paint (Although I rarely get time for these nowadays).
Tell us how started your food blogging journey. How has your roots/upbringing influenced this passion of yours?
I grew up eating homemade cakes made by my grandmother. She has been the baker of the house ever since I can remember, she’ll bake all our birthday cakes every year. I used to be intrigued by her baking skills but I was terrible at baking – in fact, anything related to the kitchen. So I took it up as a challenge because I loved to eat, and experimenting with food excited me. That’s when my friends suggested starting a Facebook page to document my baking experiments, so I can say they kind of pushed me into this journey. Plus, other home bakers inspired me through their effortless ways and lovely creations – convincing me enough that anyone can bake/cook.
You are a self-taught baker. How did you teach yourself baking?
I learned all of it through trial and error (which I still do). The Internet has been one of my biggest support, especially Pinterest as a platform to learn by seeing so many amazing recipes and also learn photography. I started baking when I was in college and I’m still just learning. My biggest inspiration has always been my grandmother and then it was other big bloggers globally like Amanda Rettke of “I am Baker”, Sarah Fennel of Broma Bakery, Lindsay and Bjork Storm of Pinch of Yum and Ella Woodword of Deliciously Ella.
“My biggest inspiration has always been my grandmother and then it was other big bloggers globally like Amanda Rettke of “I am Baker”, Sarah Fennel of Broma Bakery, Lindsay and Bjork Storm of Pinch of Yum and Ella Woodword of Deliciously Ella.”
What do you do full-time? How do you manage your work and hobby?
I handle the marketing for a Microsoft Dynamics Partner Company in Noida and it’s a full-time job (in fact more than that). I have a hectic lifestyle which everyone these days working in corporate sector coming from any background would have. Work and travel take your 75% of the day, and there is only little that you can do in the remaining.
“I mostly bake at night (post-dinner) because that’s the only time I get.I generally photograph them during mornings in natural light before going to work and post in social media during breaks in the day or during office.”
Tell us about your blog ‘The Warm Toast’. What/Who inspired you to start this?
The Warm Toast is a diary where I pen down my kitchen experiences, food journeys and experiments to make new recipes that are as easy as they are tasty. When I started baking, I used to make so many mistakes and I still do, and there aren’t a lot of places where you can find help. So it’s a place where I put my tried and tested recipes and literally anyone can make them. I want to make baking simple and doable in any kitchen – even for those who don’t have access to expensive ingredients or gears.
“The Warm Toast is a diary where I pen down my kitchen experiences, food journeys and experiments to make new recipes that are as easy as they are tasty. I want to make baking simple and doable in any kitchen – even for those who don’t have access to expensive ingredients or gears. I used to follow the baking blog “I am Baker” by Amanda Rettke, and she really inspired me by her approach of not trying to be perfect and having fun while baking.”
I am at a very nascent stage of blogging and I wasn’t really focusing on growing the blog, it was just for myself. Now it has turned into my passion and I really believe it can reach a lot more people and we can together learn new things at every stage.
Do you sell /take orders? Would you consider being a Baker/food blogger full time?
I do not take any orders currently, as I mostly make for my friends and family for special occasions. I bake for my own satisfaction, for learning and to enjoy the process. But yes, the idea of becoming a full-time blogger appeals to me.
“I see a lot of opportunities in being a food blogger. Just as the internet has helped open up a new world for me, I aspire to pass on and be an inspiration for many others to take up such creatives ventures. It would be great to be one amongst those who can influence and inspire to do the same through their amazing hard work, passion, and mastery of the art.”
What is the best compliment you’ve received so far?
I am so lucky to be surrounded by family and friends from whom I get a lot of encouragement and compliments, and I often bake for their special occasions. But the best till date would be these two:
I once baked an eggless cake for a friend’s party, and one of the guests liked it so much, she wanted to know where she could also buy it from. She said she never knew that eggless cakes could be so soft and tasty.
Also this year on my birthday, I made a huge fruit cake (more than 2 kg) for my entire family. It was finished within half an hour. Even those who never eat cakes (my uncles in their 50s) helped themselves to more than one slice; also, they had no idea I had made it!
Follow her on Instagram @thewarmtoast and be a part of her food journey!
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