By Venkatachari Jagannathan
Chennai: For some corporates here, distributing chocolates and sweets as gifts are passe. Gifting yummy and attractive cupcakes to their employees and their children on special occasions or during Diwali is now the trend, the owner of a boutique eating joint here said.
“Our gifts packs would certainly stand out. Further, cakes would be consumed first and gifter’s name will be remembered while sweets and other things would normally be put on hold for later during special occasions,” Kavita Chesetty, proprietor of Cupcakes Amore, told IANS.
She has just concluded a deal with a corporate to supply cupcakes at its employees’ residences on specified dates.
“It is the bulk orders that keep the business going and ensures that I don’t get baked out of business,” she joked, while serving a glass of lemonade flavoured with ginger and cinnamon – certainly welcome on a hot day!
The WiFi-enabled 16 cover outlet, which has been serving pizzas, sandwiches, quiches, donuts and other items, has now started serving lunch after demands from regular working customers in the locality.
“I started offering Burmese dish khao suey only on Wednesday. It was well-received and there was demand to start a daily lunch service,” Kavita said.
According to her, the business dynamics has not changed because of the lunch service as the dishes change every day. Hence the ingredients are bought based upon need and not in bulk.
The agony of waiting to dive into khao suey was prolonged when another glass of lemonade along with tasty oats-raisin cookies and a pretty strawberry cup cake (vanilla cake, strawberry butter cream frosting) followed.
The fork cut into the cake much like a hot knife that slices through butter, which was a surprise. A premium cupcake priced in a different outlet that I had purchased earlier cost over Rs.100 and was hard.
“Everything gets done from the scratch. We don’t use any ready mix or packed items. The tomato sauce, mayonnaise and other items are made here. For strawberry items, we grind the fruit. The spices are sun-dried and ground. The coffee is from our estates in Coorg,” Kavita said with pride gleaming in her eyes.
A foodie herself, Kavita started baking cakes for her eldest daughter’s first birthday. Then friends and relatives wanted her to make cup and birthday cakes.
She also published Malli, Chennai’s first food magazine for some time before shutting it down and turning into a commercial baker two years ago.
After gobbling up the yummy strawberry cup cake and the red velvet (red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting) it was time for khao suey.
“We serve khao suey only on Wednesdays. During other days of the week the dishes are different. We serve vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes,” she said keeping a big bowl of the soup-cum-noodles Burmese dish.
The one-bowl-meal is made with coconut milk, noodles, garlic, onion, ginger, lemon juice, chilli flakes, green chilli and other items. It was garnished with boiled egg, onion and a crispy item. One can also add a dash of lemon juice, chilli flakes.
The dish tasted good, with all the flavours somehow balancing out. For those who want additional tang or hot and spicy taste, they can add a dash of lemon juice and the chilli flakes kept alongside.
Queried about expansion plans, Kavita’s husband Ashwin Chesetty told IANS that the focus is on the corporate segment as it gives volumes.
Ashwin who is into mica powder business, takes care of the financial side of the cake business.
He said that opening outlets in malls where footfalls are high or franchising out are options that needed to be studied.
“We can also be a contract supplier of cup cakes and other items,” he added.
With lunch done one can wash down with a cup of coffee.
Location: Alwarpet, Near Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park
Lunch: Veg Rs.300, Non Veg Rs.350 including soft drink and coffee/tea. Cupcakes priced between Rs.90 and Rs.130.
Daily Lunch Specials @ Cupcakes Amore’ for July:
Pav Mondays; pav bhaji, pav keema, pav paaya, spaghetti Tuesdays; spaghetti with creamy mushroom Sauce, spaghetti with meatballs, khao suey Wednesdays; chicken khao suey veg, khao suey just baked Thursdays; veg au gratin, baked fish curry Fridays; sanas with veg curry, sanas with Mangalore chicken curry, pizza Saturdays; roasted peppers & Zucchini feta cheese, pizza Margarita with mushroom & olives, chicken with BBQ sauce, chicken with sweet chilli sauce Sundays.