ART, ASSAM, FOOD, PEOPLE
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This Self-Taught Baker Takes Inspiration from Nature and Her Assamese Roots to Paint Art into Her Cakes and Bakes – Meet Pari Hazarika “The Baker Girl”

 

Food holds a special place in our hearts – for so many different reasons. For those of us who are away from home, it reminds us of our home and our folks back home; for some, there are memories attached to some special treats – and for most, we simply love to eat as nothing comes close to the feeling of comfort that only good food can provide. 

Our guest today from Assam – Pari Hazarika, who goes by the name “The Baker Girl”, also shares a special bond with food. It was during some trying times in her life that she went back to her love for baking and painting – as a way to nourish both her body and soul. Growing up, she used to love watching baking shows on TV and practicing her cooking skills back at home in Assam. So going back to her childhood love helped heal her, and sparked a new excitement in her life.

So here we are, with Pari “The Baker Girl” from Assam, as we chat about her food venture, her roots, her story – and how she combines her love for painting and baking into her artful bakes!

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Pari , owner of ‘The Baker girl’

  • Hi Pari, please introduce yourself.

Hi, I am Pari – a home baker and food enthusiast from Guwahati, Assam. I am currently in Pune and in the process of building my baking venture here.

  • Tell us about baking venture “The Baker Girl” and how did you choose that name?

It took me a while to actually see myself handling a home baking business. It was a dream I had secretly nurtured for years but hadn’t really mustered the courage to go ahead with until last year. I spent a few months practicing on my own before I was confident enough to launch it.

The name of the venture too is something that I took time with. I was looking for a catchy name, and it was only when a friend I had met on a recent trip suggested it and immediately that struck a chord in me and I decided to keep the name of my venture as “The Baker Girl”

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Red Velvet Cake made with natural red coloring from beetroot | Photo: Pari @cressandclove

  • So tell us, how did it all start?

I’ve been cooking and baking since childhood. It wasn’t until I moved to Pune that I understood where my passion lay. I made genuine efforts to feed myself nourishing meals during some difficult times of my life, and that is how it all began. Food became an ally I could look up to and be happy about in the midst of chaos. Slowly, I found my way to experimenting with recipes from other bloggers I had been pinning on my Pinterest board for years. Once I came across Instagram, a whole new world of sharing about food opened up and that’s how this beautiful journey started.

“Food became an ally I could look up to and be happy about in the midst of chaos. Slowly, I found my way to experimenting with recipes from other bloggers I had been pinning on my Pinterest board for years. Once I came across Instagram, a whole new world of sharing about food opened up and that’s how this beautiful journey started.”

Soba noodles in miso shiro with some pak choi, tamagoyaki or rolled omelet, Negi miso onigiri and karintou by Pari

rootsandleisure_pari

Soba noodles in miso shiro with some pak choi, tamagoyaki or rolled omelette, negi miso onigiri and     karintou by Pari 

  • How has your own Assamese roots/upbringing, and other cultures inspired your journey?

I started baking in my high school days, mostly for me and my friends. As I got older and started enjoying it, I began playing around with different recipes. Growing up, I watched a lot of baking shows on TV and following various food blogs eventually propelled me in this direction. One of my dearest friends from Slovakia, who is quite the chef and baker herself, has been my consistent pillar of support.

“Coming from Northeast of India, my greatest inspiration has been nature. I tend to incorporate my own depiction of various elements of nature into whatever I create. I have been painting for as long as I can remember and nowadays, I have been trying to assimilate my love for painting into my cakes.”

“Some of my favorite flowers are golden showers or Indian laburnum, or as we call them in Assamese, ‘xonaru’ (সোণাৰু). The brilliant yellow blossoms have a special place in my heart. Spring is the season when they droop from the branches of the trees by the roads and cover the ground in a golden blanket of delicate fallen buds and petals. During midday, their yellow is piercing enough to almost hurt the eyes. But oh, I would happily deem them Valentine flowers if it was up to me (or maybe it is 😉). So here’s my buttercream interpretation of them on a rosemary lemon cake” ~Pari”

Blueberry ginger cake with cardamom buttercream, and painted buttercream details – baked by Pari
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Blueberry ginger cake with cardamom buttercream, and painted buttercream details

Buttercream cake with a painting for the icing – by Pari.

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Painted buttercream cake by Pari

Rose white chocolate and strawberry cheesecake for the doll named “Kaoru” as a part of the Chiyogami doll and her cake series

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A rose, white chocolate and strawberry cheesecake by Pari

  • What has been the best compliment received so far?

The best compliment I’ve ever received is from a friend of a friend, who wrote, ‘Her desserts open up a completely new horizon for your taste buds. Don’t have a sweet tooth? Well her desserts turn the tables for you!’

  • What else keeps you busy? Do you also take baking orders?

Currently, I am employing all of my time into this venture. I do take orders. I’ve also started coming up with baked goods suitable for shipping to places outside Pune (How nice!)

Rose and lemon flavored crinkle cookies by Pari

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Rose and lemon flavored crinkle cookies

Follow Pari @cressandclove for your regular dose of art and baking inspirations!

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Chocolate roulade filled with chocolate mascarpone cream and strawberries by Pari

 

Pari also recently shared with us, her lovely experience of cooking with freshly plucked stinging nettles from the Himalayan Foothills with her group of friends. Read her story here.

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