Is one's past of any use? Getting philosophical at breakfast...DesiDeli, Le 15 Patisserie, OMG Bacon jam pizzas at Crave, Bandra

A pretty pic I took at Le 15 Patisserie, Bandra with my iPhone 6
Nothing to do with the topic!

Recently Khushboo, a colleague of mine at the market research firm I consult at, asked me if any of my past market research experience comes of use in my new life in the world of food.

I remembered her question this morning when we dropped in at Desi Deli, a tiny 3 month old cafe, which has opened opposite SaltWater cafe in Bandra.

We had been invited to try out the newly launched weekend breakfast there.

Butter milk biscuits with sausage covered with gravy, hot chocolate, cappuccino
Stars in the Desi Deli breakfast

I was floored by artisanal sausage used in the New Orleans Desi which was served with a cheesy gravy, crisp praline bacon and some fantastic butter milk biscuits which were like brilliant, savoury scones. The sausage had a lovely texture and was very meaty and reminded me of the sausages that we had had from the Bangalore Meat Shop. Turns out that they get the sausages made to their own recipe at Desi Deli from a sausage maker in Mumbai who has a Bangalore Ham Shop connection!

You also get these sausages in the 'Wahwah Brekkie' at Desi Deli which has the sausages and creamy scrambled egg layered in a glass, followed by mushrooms and spinach. The top half is a lot tastier! 

The cappuccino is pretty good thankfully as is the hot chocolate which met my mom in law's approval. It's a small place though and not air conditioned which could be a bother though.

Turned out that K knew the owners of Desi Deli, Lolita and Amitabh, through her advertising connections. 

Lolita and Amitabh
Lolita and Amitabh were ad film producers who have now set up this cafe. They spoke to me about their expansion plans including that of having a place which serves beer and wine. 

"But isn't getting an alcohol license tough?" I asked.

"Nothing is tough if you have been an ad film producer. K knows the conditions in which we shoot" replied Lolita.

Lolita went on to explain that their training as ad film producers had made them world-wise and taught them how to get things done in a world of chaos. That this training had helped them set up this cafe more or less within three months from the time that they had decided to seriously chase their love for food. 

Running a cafe is very different from making ad films you would think and yet their past came of use in setting up Desi Deli for Lolita and Amitabh.

As it did for my young friend, Amrita Rana.  I caught up with her recently at Crave Comfort.

Crave is a small, again 3 month old, cheerful looking pizzeria located diagonally opposite Khane Khas at Bandra. The other bigger outlet is at Prabhadevi. We met the owner, a friendly young man called Jai who earlier ran De Napoli Pizza in town.

There was a pork connection to this meeting too. Amrita makes a bacon jam called OMG Bacon jam which I had tried earlier and loved.

Amrita Rana and Jai

They have introduced a couple of pizzas using Amrita's OMG Bacon Jam at Crave which are now on the menu as specials. 

I was floored by the exceptional quality of the thin crust in the pizzas which was nice and supple. I loved the pizza called BFF, where they had skipped the tomato sauce and used a white cheese based sauce which highlighted the flavour of the bacon jam and great ham used. The pizza had fries too, which strangely didn't seem out of place. 

The BFF pizza

We also bumped into a little man who seems to be a discerning lover of fries and kept coming to K to take fries from her basket. Not any fry would do. He would make sure they weren't burnt of bent and only then would then take them.

The world's most discerning French Fries lover

Amrita was a radio jockey before she discovered a career in food. Now she blogs, has her line of food products like the bacon jam and arugula pesto, does food styling, has a YouTube channel called Lady Kha Kha and conducts culinary workshops.

We had once caught up for dinner. Amrita told K then about how she was trying to find her destiny during her post RJ days, after she came to Mumbai, when she hit upon the world of food.

So was her past of any use Amrita?

Amrita feels that it is and says that her training as a RJ helps her talk endlessly, (!) and confidently, in front of the camera or while conducting workshops.

Yesterday, I caught up with Pooja Dhingra while shooting for my YouTube channel The Finely Chopped (customary request to subscribe to the channel made).

Post shoot pic with Pooja & our producer, Nikeet
With K who dotes on the Le 15 dark chocolate macarons

Pooja had recently put a picture of a certificate of excellence, that she had got for being a house cleaner in a hotel in Switzerland, on Instagram.

I asked Pooja if her house keeping experience was of any use to her in her new avatar as the macaron queen of Mumbai where she runs a happy and vibrant confectionery business, Le 15 Patisserie.

Pooja told me that the house cleaning stint taught her to do any task given to her without asking questions, from cleaning rooms to cleaning toilets. 

This apparently held her in good stead when she set up her own business and helped her be a hands on entrepreneur who doesn't mind doing whatever is needed for the sake of her business.

To come back to Khushboo's question, did my time in market research help me?

Market research taught me to look for trends and patterns in data which is what I try to do in my food blogging and writing too. Client presentations and reports taught me to address the point at hand and structure one's thoughts and that training has hopefully been of use as well in my writing. My market research job and the salary allowed me to explore the world of food and have new and varied experiences. I had travelled within India on field work, and internationally to present in conferences, and all of that helped my have new experiences and develop my world view on food and life. Making client and conference presentations has honed my public speaking skills. And the experience gained through client management, pitching and researching advertising and marketing helped me when I started The Finely Chopped Walks, my entrepreneurial venture.

Yes, no experience in life goes waste, as Lolita, Amitabh, Amrita and Pooja will tell you, and I fully agree.

Getting philosophical at breakfast.
Was nursing a headache but the sausages at Desi Deli made it worth it

Note: The breakfast at Desi Deli and the pizza tasting at Crave were by invite