Shivesh Bhatia shares insights from his debut cookbook 'Bake With Shivesh'
In his debut cookbook, Shivesh Bhatia shares baking experiments from the kitchen, and tips on how you can flaunt them on social media
For 22-year-old Shivesh Bhatia, baking has been a great leveller. Where life would have given lemons to many, Bhatia feels baking did the same for him. "I have literally whipped up one disaster after another," he recalls, of his initial experiments with dessert.
But, when one skims through his debut cookbook, Bake With Shivesh (HarperCollins India), it's hard to gauge the failed attempts or toiling in the kitchen, which would have gone into the making of this genius. "Oh! You can't even imagine," the self-taught Delhi-based baker tells us over the phone. Here, he recounts the first time he did it, when he was in Class IX. "I baked a batch of vanilla cupcakes with my cousins for our nani, who had taken ill. But since we were too intimidated to try the recipe from scratch, we got a Betty Crocker cake mix. We, unfortunately, burnt the batch and still ended up frosting them horribly. But, I just had so much fun in the kitchen, I knew I had to try this again," he adds.
Today, Bhatia wears many hats. The baker-turned-author is also an award-winning blogger and social media influencer. He won CondeNast Traveler India's Social Media Star of the year award in 2017 and the best dessert blog award by Better Homes and Gardens in the same year. His Instagram profile has over 1.26 lakh followers, and is inundated with mouth-watering treats.
From the lavender tart to peanut butter cookies, and the purple-hued cherry-vanilla cake, some of these find a mention in his new book. But, what really makes every dish he bakes stand out is the styling. "I'd like to credit Instagram for teaching me everything about food styling," he says. "When I got on, I was taking ugly pictures on my phone, with absolutely no thought," admits the political science graduate from Hindu College.
After going through several food blogs, tutorials on lighting techniques, and the use of the DSLR and props, he realised how he could visually celebrate his food. Bhatia also dedicates an entire section to food styling in the book, with tips on how to set-up the space for the food shoots — this includes understanding the mood of the photo, the story behind the dish, choice of background, crockery and props.
Snaps of Diwali mithai
Try and incorporate celebratory elements and ethnic-Indian props in your shots. Adding fairylights, fresh and bright flowers, like marigolds, help lift the picture. Avoid using shiny, metallic props. How about an oxidized candle-stand, or a rustic copper thali?
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