If recent news reports are anything to go by, veganism just got trendy. To the committed carnivores among us, adopting a vegan diet aka no meat, no fish, no dairy, and no eggs, sounds like a dramatic step. But even if you made the necessary relevant changes to your lifestyle and diet, following through it outside the confines of your home in India gets challenging. That’s where vegan bakers like Ekta Minocha are passionately helping their customers enjoy their journey through veganism.
We first came to know of Ekta Minocha and her vegan baking venture, Homemade Beku, through her Instagram profile. Her beautifully decorated, moist, and delicious looking baked goods and vegan savories will make your mouth water. Minocha has also started a blog recently, called The Vegan Birdie, that is already a name to reckon with in Bangalore’s baking community. Whoever said the vegan food was boring?
When and why did you decide to become a vegan baker?
I started out in the corporate world in Bangalore as an engineer in 2007. Since then, my constant self-exploration brought me to a point where I felt an urge to do something which is more meaningful to me. I then decided to quit my IT job after eight years. Since then, fortunately, I’ve been able to find not one but multiple meaningful skills to engage myself in. Today I am a Yoga teacher and baker. I own a blog called ‘The Vegan Birdie’ that features the vegan goods cooked by me along with their recipes. My baking venture is called ‘Homemade Beku’.
What does your baking venture ‘Homemade Beku’ specialize in?
Homemade Beku is a dairy free and vegetarian bakery. It provides healthier options like whole wheat, gluten-free (millet based cakes), oil free, sugar-free and organic cakes. Specifically, we sell vegan tea cakes, custom-made birthday cakes, muffins, pies & tarts. Homemade Beku is based out of my home and I use natural food colors and flavors in all my cakes. Since my cakes contain no animal products they are cholesterol-free hence, healthy and are also a good option for people who are lactose-intolerant to enjoy the good things in life.
What was your inspiration for starting your own baking venture?
I am an animal lover and also a food lover. I turned vegan once I understood harming animals for food or otherwise is not in alignment with who I was as a person. But my love for food never ceased so I started experimenting with vegan food. I was looking into different ways to replace dairy in food that I loved without missing out on its appeal. I slowly began to realize that vegan food brought together both my goals in the best way. Vegan food is both yummy and healthy. I then started my blog to share recipes for vegan food and to dispel the myth that following a vegan diet was difficult.
“Being an army kid I have traveled often and met people from different cultures. I have enjoyed different styles of cooking & ingredients across Indian states. The fact that I’ve been to so many places makes me able to enjoy different kind of foods.”
It makes me curious and open to experimenting new things. I veganize recipes from different cuisines for my blog.
We have been a foodie family. Mom’s always experimented in the kitchen. She has been the official baker for all family birthdays. That’s where I get my inspiration from. Growing up, my mom always baked at home and I cherish the warmth of home-baked goodies. This led to starting my baking venture ‘Homemade Beku’. Beku is a spin on the word ‘bake’ and it also means ‘I want’ in Kannada.
Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I have always wanted to work independently. I am really thankful that I found things I love to invest my time into. I love it when customers enjoy my home-baked goodies. It gives me great satisfaction to be doing something I connect with.
“Getting to know yourself is the best way to know what you want to be doing. Also, it’s important to allow yourself the space to grow and change with time.”
I’ll keep doing what I love and hopefully grow into bigger things with time.
What has been your biggest learning after making the switch from a stable IT job to becoming an entrepreneur?
It’s been challenging to get out of the mindset of an employee who is always allocated work and timings to finish a task. When you are working for yourself and that too out of your house, you have to take all your decisions on your own and manage multiple tasks together. It is initially difficult to become an organized worker outside an office environment but I am picking up on that skill as I grow. Also, one cannot stop learning. As a baker, I always have a long pending list of recipes I want to experiment with. That may just be the best part about my job.
What do you hope people take away from ‘Homemade Beku’?
My goal is to convince people we can eat yummy baked food without causing harm to other living beings. By simply choosing what we put on our plates one meal at a time, each one of us can make a difference to this world. So far, I have received really positive feedback from anyone who has tasted Homemade Beku’s products including non-vegetarians
To try out some sin-free, yummy baked vegan food, you can reach out to Ekta on her Facebook page and Instagram. Are you interested to try out vegan baking on your own? If you are in Bangalore this month, Ekta Minocha will be conducting a workshop on vegan baking for beginners on the 16th of December.
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