Meet Jammu’s Master Bakers: Rosana & Nena Bedi
A beautiful mother-daughter duo has been spreading love in the form of delicious cakes and breads in lofty Jammu. Called ‘More than Love with Cakes’, their decadent strawberry cream cheese cakes and seashell-shaped chocolates have been winning hearts and getting them orders by the dozen.
Rosana and Harnain Bedi in their garden
While you might recall mom Rosana Bedi as a MasterChef contestant, her daughter Harnain is actually a psychologist by qualification. But together, they are one of the best bakers the hills have seen. We decided to have a little chat with Harnain, more lovingly known as Nena.
(As told to Ankita Shreeram)
A Psychologist Turns to the Kitchen
So, talking about myself, I am Harnain Bedi. I have never been called by that name though. I think people prefer calling me Nena. I am a 26 year old who finished her Master's in Clinical Psychology and chose to enter the food business because I believed that I was good at this.
It was years of passive training and seeing my mom cook in the kitchen and having my maternal side of the family filled with great cooks that gave me more confidence.
A Filipino Meets an Indian
Strawberry chocolate cake
My mom Rosana Bedi is a Filipino. Filipinos are known for their big families and even bigger dining tables with a wide spread of their delicacies. Being the middle child in her family of 12, she learnt to cook at a young age.
Fast forward a few years, she became a nurse and started working in a hospital in Spain. She met my dad who’s an Indian. They got married and moved to India. Years of living in India and residing with her new Indian family helped my mother learn typical Punjabi food and she even turned out to be the best Indian cook. In fact, all the things made by her turned out to be a class apart and lip smacking.
Tryst with MasterChef
I was in my second year of college when mom took part in MasterChef. She reached the top 25 and later got eliminated. When she got back to Jammu, she continued her baking and cooking like she was doing earlier but this time obviously, people knew that she had just come back from the contest.
It was 2012 and a handful of people were asking her to make cakes for birthdays and other celebrations and within two years, she was all over the town. Her cakes became popular.
More than Love with Cakes
Breads, croissants and buns
In the meanwhile, I finished my college and kept experimenting with my own and mom's recipes and would even follow YouTube recipes. But the thing with YouTube is that you are lucky if you find a video that gives you the exact same outcome as they show in videos (guess Nena should’ve checked out IFN!), but no doubt, it taught me so many things too.
To cut a long story short, it was mom's years of trying new things by following recipe books and her knowledge in food without any formal training and my cooperation in learning and trying new stuff that got us where we are today.
I think when you are involved with food, it’s not limited to just one aspect. You love and want to learn everything about it. Culinary cooking and baking both have always been our forte. So with this small business that we do, we our obviously promoting our bakery but people that my mom is an all-rounder in the kitchen and also order main course for small get-togethers.
Understanding the problems that Jammu faces now and then, we do our little bit to help people. We haven’t crossed a big milestone yet but I don't think me and mom would ever have a problem in doing what we love and if it can make a small difference in people's hearts, then why not!
I am personally still dreaming, but yes I do want to touch greater heights and reach a point where probably I own a pretty looking cake boutique and people just enjoy their cup of tea or coffee and enjoy what I have to offer!
Sourcing the Magic Ingredients
Jammu lacks things that we use in our baking and cooking. If we are lucky, then sometimes it’s available in the daily needs store here but most of the time if any one of us is travelling out of the city, we always make sure to pay a visit to a Modern Bazaar or Le Marche and INA market to pick the ingredients that can suffice for 4-5 months of our baking.
My Top Favourites
Honestly there is no one thing that's my favourite. I love the simple chocolate cakes that we make and cakes with tender coconut. The mango cheesecake with tender coconut is my all-time favourite though. In breads, I like the multi-grain loaf breads - slightly toasted and smeared with butter and parmesan cheese.
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