Maham Moiz Rana, Ammi to a cute little munchkin, talks to Scaryammi about her journey as a chef. Her brand Coco Cheri has created waves for its wide array of macaroons and tall cakes. Here she speaks about her journey as an Ammipreneur.
1. How long have you been cooking for?
I’ve been fond of baking from an early age and kept trying out different recipes for family and friends as a hobby. However, since I have a degree in computer science from the University of Warwick, no one including myself saw me taking this up as a full-time career; this began about 2.5 years ago.
2. How did you come up with the idea of Coco Cheri?
Coco Chéri means “sweet darling” and quite literally describes the love with which we make all our cakes and desserts; no other name could have been more fitting. The concept behind Coco Chéri stems from my fascination with tall buttercream cakes. Not only are these majestic confections a treat for the taste buds, but add an extra special element to any spread or occasion. I wanted to introduce these to my clientele and am grateful for the overwhelming response.
3. What got you into baking?
Every summer when I visited my aunt in London, I would silently observe her cooking up a storm in her kitchen. I was most inspired by the delightfully rich and luxurious desserts she put together, overwhelmed by the sweet aroma that surrounded us. Gradually, I started helping her out and realized how passionate I was about experimenting with different textures and flavours.
4. Have you taken any formal training in baking?
Yes. I have a certification from the Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Arts in Toronto.
5. Your cake presentation is beautiful! How did you learn it?
The presentation you see is all a product of lots of trial and error. I enjoy playing around with colour and expressing myself creatively through the final item I deliver to my clients. I remember, back in school, my teachers would always encourage me to pursue art as a career because they saw potential. I feel I’m also inspired by my travels and that reflects in my work.
6. How are the different ways you can bake with whipping cream?
One of my absolute favourite ways is to simply pair it with lightly sweetened fresh fruit and cake. It also makes a delicious topping over pies.
7. What is your favourite cake to make?
Has to be a lemon pound cake – it’s also the most loved by my father and father-in-law.
8. What is your favourite dessert which has whipping cream?
9. What are the essential things to know before making whipping cream?
The most essential element is to use the right kind of cream; it should contain about 33%-35% milk fat. Other important points to note include keeping your utensils and cream chilled and whipping right before serving.
10. What is the most creative dessert you have made?
Macaron ice-cream sandwiches
11. What is your most famous cake?
Tall buttercream cakes. I’m humbled when people appreciate Coco Chéri for having started a trend.
12. Tell us one of your most memorable moment of cooking?
The most memorable moments are from Coco Chéri’s early days. One is always fearful when starting a business and the pressure to deliver is real. Within the first few days, I received an order of 1600 macarons that needed to be supplied in less than 24 hours. I can still feel the panic when I recall that day; you don’t want to give up on such an order, but the stress was nerve-wracking! We managed pretty well though and our client was happy. It’s given me a memory to look back at and smile. We’ve come a long way.