For a better tomorrow

Amrita Prasad
Thursday, 21 February 2019

Social for Action, in association with The Orchid Hotel, is organising Choco-Craft — Chocolate For a Cause workshop and will be donating the proceeds to fight malnutrition and anaemia across rural Maharashtra

Old or young, no one can resist the temptation of chocolates or chocolate-based desserts. Chocolates bring happiness and smiles on our faces, elevate our mood, make us feel romantic and also boost our energy levels. Celebrating the goodness of chocolate, Social For Action, which is having its 2nd edition of Choco-Craft — Chocolate For a Cause this year, is organising a series of workshops where participants get to learn chocolate-making and baking techniques to create delicacies like chocolate cookies, chocolate brownies, cupcakes with four types of frosting and so on. Executive chef Gulshan Kumar, along with pastry chef Mohammad Azam, will be conducting the workshop at The Orchid Hotel, Balewadi, Pune, on Saturday, February 23, from 4-6 pm.  

Social For Action is a Maharashtra-based not-for-profit initiative which conducts special fun-filled events, activities and workshops to mobilise students and the young urban community through their social media platform to influence, inspire and eventually make a difference in the world. The workshop is dedicated to the cause of reducing malnutrition and critical issue like anaemia across Maharashtra’s 35 districts. 

Kumar feels extremely fortunate to be a part of this cause. “How often do we get a chance to make a difference in someone’s life? We all want to do something for others but we don’t get the opportunity, but through Social For Action’s initiative, I think I will be able to do my bit for society. Despite willing to do something, I could never be a part of such an initiative earlier, but now that I am getting this platform where I can teach others how to bake and also help the less-privileged, I am very happy. For this, I will be assisted by The Orchid Hotel’s pastry chef Azam,” says Kumar adding that whenever one gets a chance to do something for others, one mustn’t leave the opportunity.   

Kumar will be demonstrating how to make cupcakes, cookies and healthy bars at the workshop. He says that bakery products have always been looked at as ‘unhealthy’ and he wants to change the perception. “We are creating recipes comprising plums and dates which make a good combination of healthy ingredients. When plums and dates are combined with chocolates, it helps improve one’s metabolism and can be eaten as a healthy snack item. I am also creating brownies with jaggery which is also a very healthy bakery item,” he adds. 

Today, baking has become very popular and almost every second house has a homebaker but this wasn’t the scene a couple of years ago. “People weren’t attracted to baking so much, but now there is a huge craze for it. My wife has always been fond of baking and the cookies that she makes are amazing. Today, we have so many homebakers making amazing stuff. I love homebaked items,” adds Kumar.  

Ask him what attracts him to baking, and the chef says ‘simplicity’. “Baking just needs a few ingredients that you easily find at home. One should stick to simple ingredients. Oats and walnut cookies are the easiest to make and are very healthy,” he suggests.  

Kumar says that when baking one needs to stick to the recipe and mustn’t undermine the importance of measurements. Says he, “Baking isn’t like cooking Indian food where you use ‘andaza.’ You have to follow the recipe strictly and go by the correct weight of the ingredients. A slight change in the measurement or alternation in recipe will change the texture and taste of the dish.” 

Talking about baking trends, Kumar says that it is all about fusion now. “Today, people are using micro herbs and pesto in baking which wasn’t so earlier,” he concludes.

Executive chef Gulshan Kumar, along with pastry chef Mohammad Azam, will conduct Choco-Craft — Chocolate For a Cause workshop at The Orchid Hotel, Balewadi, Pune, on February 23, from 4-6 pm. To register, call on 7447478269

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