BENGALURU : Sandhya Nagaraj, a mother of three children, works hard to take care of them. Previously a security guard at an apartment, she joined Howard Johnson, a four-star hotel in Hebbal. She worked as a kitchen stewardess for three years before becoming a professional pastry chef for the last eight months.
“I was fascinated with wearing a chef’s hat, and wanted to do more challenging work than kitchen
stewarding,” she says on how she ended up in the baking industry. She found the baking department in the hotel a very interesting place to be, and began learning the art during her off-duty hours. “Baking is a more challenging job, what we create is consumed by guests and appreciated. I wanted to showcase my creativity and prove myself.”
Sandhya found it challenging to do both, especially since her normal working hours were from 7am to 4pm. “Between 4.30pm and 8.30pm, I learnt baking. So totally, I used to spend about 13-14 hours a day at work. As I stay nearby, I could walk in on off days too to learn.” Within seven months of training, she mastered the art of baking.Although there was no time to spend with her family, Sandhya says that this sacrifice was in order to ensure her children’s dreams could be achieved. “I have struggled financially, like everyone else. I have to pay fees for my children, pay rent and run my house. Life is ‘swalpa sihi,
swalpa kahi’ (little sweet, little sour), like we say in Kannada, and I work very hard to make it easier for my family.”
Despite the hardships, Sandhya continues to work towards her baking dreams. “I want to learn more about baking, develop my own recipes and work in 5-star hotels. I want to try my hand at making homemade chocolate too.”