Jagmeeta Thind Joy
The wafting aroma of freshly baked bread mixed with some goodies just out of the oven welcomed us as we arrived at the mother kitchen of AJ Foods on a sultry summer afternoon. It’s a busy day as we notice the staff hard at work – sifting, sieving, whisking, toasting, baking as a lady in black, wearing cat eye spectacles, and what looks like a chopstick holding up her hair, dishes out quick instructions. She’s the affable and extremely talented chef Anubhav Sawhney who has, in less than three years, made the Tricity sit up and take notice of all that comes out of her kitchen.
Once a visiting chef to Chandigarh – she used to conduct cookery workshops here – Anubhav, and her business partner-husband, Jasmeet Sawhney now steer their popular brand Made@Home. If you have been relishing unique desserts at the outlet Food@U, then you have Anubhav to thank. Not just that, Made@Home supplies freshly made desserts and cakes to select caterers across the Tricity along with hosting events of their own.
Interestingly, Chef Anubhav was one of the first few chefs to offer personalised chef service for clients. And this year she’s taking the concept further with the concept of micro-catering. “You know how it is when you have a function that’s definitely bigger than a family dinner party but not as grand as a wedding. You need catering for functions like that,” says Anubhav. It could be a baby shower, engagement function or even a corporate do – that’s where she and her team step in. “Apart from dessert catering, we specialise in catering for events with a guest list of say 250 people where the host has a special cuisine or theme in mind,” explains Jasmeet.
For someone as passionate a chef as Anubhav, the quality of ingredients and the recipe is of supreme importance. “Today, there are many easy ways of baking. There are many bakeries which prefer to go the pre-mix way. For us, purity of ingredients and freshness is important. We make everything in-house. Be it the bread for our sandwiches or the blueberry compote even the ladyfingers for our tiramisu are made in-house,” says Anubhav as she leads us to the piece de resistance – the dessert table. And it has us squealing in delight.
“This is a just a small sample of a dessert station that we specialise in for events. It could be as small as 12 feet to as grand as 60 feet,” informs the chef as we notice the array on goodies on the table. A freshly made pound cake sits next to crisp lavash that is accompanied with flavoured butters in little jars. Also in the line-up is blueberry meringue tart, mango tart, an exceptionally well done and dense brownie, cheesecake pops with a twist (see accompanying video), Dutch waffles, churros pops and more. The table is a visual treat and is aesthetically styled.
“We work with clients on a theme and what they would like and design it accordingly,” explains Jasmeet. Little surprise, it is the highlight of the occasion. Anubhav mentions a recent one where they designed a dessert table on a swing! “We want to introduce new concepts like these in the region. So far the city has been very receptive and we are thrilled,” Anubhav smiles to say.
A self-taught chef (she’s a former journalist with a flair with words and whisks) Anubhav and Jasmeet want to explore international flavours and ideas in the coming year. If you are looking for a special cake for an occasion or bulk orders too, then Anubhav can help you with options.
Given her vast experience, she’s also a budding food consultant and designs menus for restaurants. “We are also exploring retail options for our cakes and desserts,” says Anubhav who also runs operations in Delhi apart from Chandigarh. Under the parent company, AJ Foods, culinary workshops are a regular feature as well. We’ll keep you posted!