This article is part of our series ‘The Reinvention’ about women who adapted to the ‘new normal’ during the COVID lockdown and took a new direction in their career during this challenging period.
By Shweta Bhandral
A banker who chose to be a homemaker when she became a mother, Shweta Joshi couldn’t wait to start something of her own as soon as her son grew up. She launched Artventure Educraft in 2015, when her son Amey was about eight years old. It integrates art and craft with curriculum, keeping kids away from the screen. By 2018-19, she had gained ground with schools as well.
Then COVID happened and all her 2020 spring camps scheduled after final exams in Delhi got shelved.
Shweta says, “I conducted a few online sessions, but the flow of the class was not engaging and interactive. Teaching craft skills requires a physical presence.”
Realising that online classes were not working out, Shweta started supplying DIY craft kits to her students. But as Delhi went deeper into the lockdown, the supply chain was disrupted and procurement of material became a massive challenge for her to continue that too.
But Shweta is a creative soul in more ways than one. Always a good cook, she began dishing up fancy meals for the family during the lockdown. In April, she shared some pictures of her baked dishes with a friend.
With most bakeries shut and growing apprehension about ordering food from commercial eateries, her friend suggested Shweta make her baked goods available for people, especially those around Noida, Sector-15, where she is based.
“I jumped at the idea,” narrates Shweta. She created a WhatsApp group to share her dishes and instantly got inquiries and orders. “And that’s how I started my new venture. My son named it Quarantine Bakers,” she says.
Her art and craft skills are mirrored in her uniquely designed bread and teatime cakes. She is also making waves with her cream cakes and pies, which are a hit for birthdays. The 41-year-old discloses, “I keep reinventing newer ways to prepare food with healthy substitutes and creatively present them.”
She is excited and surprised to see the traction: she has three to four orders every day. To cook in the utmost hygienic conditions is her biggest priority in these times, and so Shweta has not allowed any help to work in the house and operates the kitchen all by herself.
“I am very thankful for the love and support of people,” she smiles. “I am getting repeat orders, and people are instilling their faith in me. I think I will continue with Quarantine Bakers post-lockdown as well.”
Place orders at +91 98118 87936
GARLIC AND HERB BREAD
Extra-virgin olive oil; 2-3 cloves minced fresh garlic; fresh herbs;
2 tsp of yeast in half a cup of warm water and 2 tsp honey; 3 cups all-purpose flour; salt and pepper; sliced vegetables of your choice.
- Infuse olive oil with garlic and fresh herbs.
- Mix yeast with warm water and honey to wake up the yeast.
- Add the flour, salt, and some of the garlic herb oil to the yeast mixture, and then knead the dough.
- Let the dough rise until doubled in size (about an hour).
- Add the dough to a small sheet pan or baking dish and poke dimples on the top with your fingers.
- Use this as your art canvas and be creative. Use sliced vegetables to decorate the bread dough. You can make flowers, mosaics, etc. Top with the remaining garlic-herb oil.
- Let the bread rise for another 20 minutes, and then bake until golden brown.
First published in eShe’s August 2020 issue
Syndicated to Money Control