Subhatra Priyadarshini was 14 years old when she chanced upon a recipe of creamy white chocolate in her favourite comic strip. Her interest piqued, she whipped up her own version with a heady mix of out-of the-box ingredients. After exciting moments of waiting for the cocoa mix to set, she found that her experiment had turned out to be delicious, but gooey mess. Little did she know that she had struck on the recipe for a perfect career.
Meet the 26-year-old chocolatier, who runs Choc of the Town. The online venture’s tag line: ‘To make the world a sweeter place, through chocolates’ resonates with the twist in her life.
Subhatra completed her BTech in Information Technology from Anna University, Chennai in 2007. While she took up a job at an IT start-up in Delhi, her heart was always set on starting her own online venture.
“I used to list out ideas every day, as my dream venture would always keep changing. But I was clear on making it online as it would be easy to set it up,” recalls Subhatra.
From a dial-up service to solve everyday problems to an online flower delivery model, her brainstorming sessions threw up a host of ideas, but she narrowed down on the chocolate shop. Finally a course in entrepreneurship at IIM Bangalore gave her the push to stick to her childhood passion.
“I wanted to be in a job that lets me enjoy what I do and also innovate,” she says.
However, learning the ropes of crafting hand made chocolates was no child’s play.
Doing the homework
The tech-savvy chocaholic trotted the metros to attend chocolate-making classes, breezed through countless mouth-watering recipes and engaged in painstaking research to find ways to mould the succulent treats.
“While most people love chocolates, making them is a different ball game. I remember my kitchen used to be a complete mess back then,” she laughs, recollecting summer afternoons spent churning out new ways to create a rich blend of scrumptious chocolates. The bubbly entrepreneur says that her first order for a birthday party was the stepping stone for her success.
“Something was wrong with the packing, so all the chocolates became sticky. It was embarrassing, but the incident helped me learn... I researched different kinds of packing and temperature settings. After a trial-anderror period, I landed on the correct formula.”
Art of the matter
Be it chocolates shaped like your favourite zoo-animals moulded on lollipop sticks, crispy biscuits drizzled with molten cocoa and fruity pulp- centred munchies, Choc of the town comes up with special treats, in assorted shapes and sizes, for every occasion. And Subhatra believes the USP lies in making it personal.
"We even have messages and portraits done on the chocolates to give room for creativity,” she adds.
While she currently works from home in Chennai with a small team, Subhatra aspires to set up a manufacturing unit. Her advice to aspiring master chefs is, “It’s fun, you can try out your own ideas. And you can always learn from your mistakes.” For queries regarding Choc of the Town, visit the offical website www.chocofthetown.com