HYDERABAD: Signing up for a cooking or baking workshop has become the new activity for many over the weekend, with several cafes, restaurants and culinary studios hosting workshops. Conducted by culinary experts, these workshops introduce participants to a host of cuisines and help them learn the intricacies of the art of cooking.
Arundati Rao, the founder of Escapades Culinary Studio who conducts short-term and hobby baking workshops, used to work with a telecom firm. “When I moved to consulting, I used to hold classes over the weekends at home. I used teach cooking, baking and chocolate-making. Ten years ago, I quit my job as I had to look after my dog. It was epileptic and required 24x7 care. My classes had become quite popular and I was earning more than what a full-time job was paying me,” she says.
The home chef and baker set up a studio at Kondapur as she realised that it was time for her to upgrade the classes. “Today, I hold classes in small groups. I do short-term classes and don’t offer a diploma. I have trained hundreds of home bakers and many of them sought my help to set up a business,” she says.
The classes are hands-on and designed for those who want to start a food business. “We provide the ingredients and guide the participants through every step of the recipe. This is mainly for home-bakers, hence I’ve kept the sessions short. They can come back if they want to learn more,” she says.
Escapades Culinary Studio offers two kinds of classes — a 20-day course for home-bakers (held Monday to Friday from 10 am to 3 pm) and a hobby course which is for those who just want to learn cupcakes or brownies. Arundati is primarily into baking and does not teach Indian dishes. “I do Asian and Mediterranean. The hobby format is not theoretical, but light. The fee ranges from Rs 3000 to around Rs 10,000. It depends on what I am teaching. Also, the participants are asked to take home whatever they cook here. I also give them printed notes,” she says.
Another venue that holds culinary workshops is the 45th Avenue, a European style multi-cuisine cafe in Jubilee Hills. Vijay Ramanani, the founder, says: “We recently hosted a two-hour baking masterclass wherein demos on how to bake focaccia, pita, calzones with baked veggies and chocolate cake with ganache were given. We had 18 participants, who got a hands-on experience in kneading, blending, whisking and fermentation. The masterclass emphasised the need to master the fundamentals before embracing advanced techniques. We will be coming up with more such workshops soon.”
Gopi Byluppala, founder and CEO of The Culinary Lounge, says this trend is an excellent engaging model for restaurants, supermarkets and brands. “Culinary workshops help them in branding at a cheaper cost. Due to the pandemic, people have been trying their hand at cooking and are enjoying it. There is no better place to bond with friends and family than the kitchen. Now it’s even more because of the festive and holiday season. People are bored and want to spend time with family, so they sign up for such activities,” he says.
Sign up now
Escapades Culinary Studio
Baking classes Monday to Friday 10 am to 3pm
Hobby classes Saturday and Sunday
Dasara food workshop October 11-14
From global cuisines to gooey desserts, cafes, restaurants and culinary studios are busy holding cooking/baking workshops on weekends. While these are excellent engagement tools and help with branding, Hyderabadis are making the best of this trend as they acquire some cutting-edge culinary skills