Like mother, like daughter

Updated: Sep 11, 2019, 09:22 IST | Suman Mahfuz Quazi

A college project prompts 19-year-old to relook at mom's self-effacing brownie-making business in new light. Innovation and tech-support later, they've created a halt for honest-to-goodness treats

Like mother, like daughter
Bela and Mansi Vyas at their home in Dadar East. Pics/Atul Kamble

What people often don't realise about the generation gap is that it, like any other gap, can be bridged. There's immense scope for something entirely new to transpire from the culmination of new and old sensibilities. This is something that 19-year-old Mansi Vyas, who lives in Dadar, recognised three months ago, when a college project got her thinking.

A student of SIES College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Vyas is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in management studies. For the third semester of her course, her business planning and entrepreneurial management class professor suggested that instead of reading out of a cumbersome book, students try their hand at running a business for a month.

Ultimate gooey brownie; ultimate gooey brownie with white chocolate; Oreo almonds and chocolate chip brownie
Ultimate gooey brownie; ultimate gooey brownie with white chocolate; Oreo almonds and chocolate chip brownie

"The project tried to see if we were cutout for a business. And we were given the choice to either start from scratch or sell bought goods," Mansi shares. It is then that she realised that what her mother, Bela, had been doing for years was "nothing short of a business".

Having nurtured a passion for all things food, Bela, 56, had stepped into the kitchen for the first time at 13. Originally from Kolkata, Bela says her father played a pivotal role in cultivating this hobby. "He would often urge me to take cooking classes," the mother of two, who moved to Mumbai, recalls. Bela's love for food emerged from there, and six years ago it found expression in a nameless, formless business of brownies.

Cutting brownies
Cutting brownies

"My mum took a baking class some years ago, and soon after, for festivals, she started replacing mithai with homemade brownies, cakes and chocolates. People loved it and started requesting her to make it in bulk. But she was doing it informally. When the project came up, I thought that instead of selling jewellery, I could give my mom's business shape," Mansi tells us, tracing the birth of Cutting Brownies, a dessert venture based out of Dadar East.

The hallmark of good food, we think, is a combination of earnestness and skill, both of which are brimming in the form of the gooey, chocolate-y goodness that forms the core of these brownies. What Mansi did is that she used the knowledge gathered from her classes, combined it with youthful insight, and packaged it — as industry folk love to call it — in a consumer-friendly format.

"When I was assigned the project in June, I asked my mother if she would chip in, and obviously she agreed. Then, she helped me get acquainted with what she was doing. I like cooking, too, but I am not great at it. So, after learning how she goes about things, I decided that instead of serving her brownies in boxes, like she was, we could give it a twist by putting it inside cutting chai glasses," Mansi explains, adding that the thought behind serving up these sweet treats in a chai glass was not only to match up to the aesthetic standards of Instagram, but to also re-package the products into something more eco-friendly.

Bela, who is a homemaker, says that while her daughter's vision and knowledge have helped her up the ante considerably, adding a dash of coolness to her homely brownies, what it has primarily done is give her a sense of purpose. "I was so excited when Mansi came to me and said she wanted to do this, because I always hoped that I can pass on my love for cooking and baking to my daughters. I do hope that she will take a professional baking class some day, though I am telling her all the time that she needs to," she quips.

With an eye on the future and hopes of expanding the menu to include chocolate, mousse and other desserts, Mansi is charged up to make her mum's brownies — available in ultimate gooey, Oreo and almond, and other customisable combinations — accessible and fun. "I am working on a logo and looking into other details so we can go live on social media," she adds. Which brings us back to the beauty of things emerging out of the synthesis of the old and new — the result is almost always something heartwarmingly sweet.

At Cutting Brownies, Dadar East.
Call 9619892998 (only pick-up available)
Cost Rs 60 (per glass; minimum order of six glasses); Rs 230 to Rs 300 for 2s 50 gms

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