Teacher Leaves Classroom To Pursue Career In Baking 

Srinagar- In the short span since its inception, ‘Sweet Treats by Tanya’ has garnered a loyal patronage and popularity amongst its discerning clientele. However, this foray into the world of professional baking is a recent venture for the Srinagar-based baker Tanya Rigzin.  The hands that wield the whisk held a chalk not too long ago.

“I started my career as a teacher, I joined an esteemed school in the valley. With my IT background I started off teaching computers and eventually also taught language and phonetics.” she said.

The job served as the perfect platform that allowed Rigzin to blend her educational expertise, keen interest in child education and love for kids.

“While challenging, my role as an educator was deeply rewarding. Grooming my students, molding young minds and guiding them through this important and impressionable phase brought immense satisfaction”, says an evidently content Rigzin.

“There’s nothing more gratifying than contributing to a child’s holistic growth and witnessing him/her bloom into a bright young individual”, she says. “And in return my wonderful students taught me many precious life lessons with the immense love and respect they showered on me”, she recalls.

Belonging from a family deeply rooted in their mother culture, Tanya grew up with immense love for the cultural traditions of the valley, particularly its cuisine. Her keen interest in food was always appreciated with support and encouragement at home.

“During my teaching stint, I would often cook or bake treats for my colleagues. Everyone at work loved my bakes and would often urge and encourage me to consider baking professionally if I ever took the plunge”.

But being a dedicated teacher with a demanding full-time job meant baking remained a hobby and leisure passion for Rigzin.

“As much as I loved my teaching job and despite the immense satisfaction it brought me, a medical condition forced me to resign and end my decade long academic career to focus on my health”, recounts Ms Rigzin.

In the months that followed, after a long and intensive treatment, Tanya made a full recovery.

“While I regained my health, I missed being at work. I was raring to go and ready for the proverbial second innings”, she tells us.

“My Ikigai moment serendipitously revealed itself to me during this time of introspection and searching for a purpose. Backed by family and with a lot of support and encouragement from colleagues and friends, I launched my independent baking business ‘Sweet Treats By Tanya’. A lockdown baby that was born from a place of immense passion and love”, she proudly shares.

While exciting, the transition from employee to entrepreneur was not an easy one as Rigzin discovered.

“Being self-taught comes with its own unique set of challenges. Every initial step was a lesson in patience and perseverance. I painstakingly taught myself not only the craft and skill of baking at a professional level but also the nitty-gritties of running a business”, she says.

“I am a one-woman team. Every aspect of the business, from sourcing, baking, packaging, branding and logistics is personally handled by me. While this can be daunting, it also gives me total control on the quality of my product and service”, reveals Ms. Rigzin.

Tanya believes that good produce and ingredients are the building blocks of a great product.

“I have an uncompromising approach when it comes to sourcing the best ingredients. Whether it is single origin couverture chocolate, freshest seasonal fruits or premium quality base ingredients and flavorings. The attention to detail is evident in every bake that is made at ‘Sweet Treats by Tanya’”, Rigzin informs us.

She has gradually built and developed the menu to what it is today and is constantly looking for newer, better ideas to add to her list of offerings.

“I always wanted my menu to have depth and width when it came to the choices and variations on offer. At Sweet Treats by Tanya I have something for every palate, occasion and mood”, says the baker.

“I have also been mindful of balancing the menu with a mix of savory and sweet options. So where you have a masterfully crafted decadent apple tart, you will also find an indulgent and rustic quiche loaded with chicken and mushrooms”, says Tanya elaborating on her menu.

“I am immensely proud of the variety of cakes on offer at ‘Sweet Treats By Tanya’. The range spans from moreish tea cakes and loaves to decadent ones made to order and highly customized edible wonders to suit every requirement. And while the menu runs deep in variety, it is also flexible to accommodate personal customizations”, says Ms. Rigzin.

Sweet Treat By Tanya designs and delivers customized celebratory cakes for landmark occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.

“Whether it is a customized birthday or anniversary cake with a heartfelt message for a loved one or a specially designed tiered wedding masterpiece, it gives me immense joy to be a part of these special moments and contribute in making lifelong memories for our trusting patrons.”, says a beaming Rigzin.

Besides these sophisticated creations, Sweet Treats By Tanya also makes fun cakes with exciting themes for kids.

“I enjoy baking cakes with requests to incorporate a favorite cartoon or anime character for kids and youngsters. I use different media and materials like fondant figurines, customized toppers and kid-friendly colors to evoke a sense of wonder in these specially curated cakes”, says the teacher turned entrepreneur.

Their range of cupcakes with pretty frosting, delicious muffins and choco-fudge bonbons are a big hit with the little ones, we are told.

Rigzin is known to make customized baked goodies to accommodate clients with specific needs and preferences. “I believe treats should be inclusive. When patrons approach me with special requests, I take the test of my skills as a challenge and modify recipes to accommodate dietary restrictions or choices. Once a client reached out for a vegan cake for her son with food allergies after being turned down by other businesses in the city.  I delivered a cake to fit her exacting requirements without compromising on flavor. While such projects take extra effort, “the beaming smile on her son’s face as he relished the cake was priceless”, says Tanya, recounting one such instance.

“While we cater to our patrons round the year, we have specially curated seasonal menus for Eid, Christmas and other festivals. These festive treats are not only popular with our resident patrons, but I get many requests for special orders by people living outside the valley to give their loved ones here”, Tanya tells us.

Tanya believes cake doesn’t really need an occasion or excuse. And when you decide to create or celebrate one, Sweet Treats By Tanya is a call away to fulfill all your sweet and savory cravings with that special touch and sweetness of love.

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Syed Mohammad Burhan

Syed Mohammad Burhan has Masters in Mass Communications and works as City Reporter at Kashmir Observer. He tweets @syedmohammad313

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