We spoke to Chintal Kakaya and here’s what she had to say!
I was born in Mombasa Kenya where I spent most of my childhood surrounded by a close-knit community where food was prepared and shared on many occasions. At the age of 12 my family moved to the UK, I am one of three children. I am married and have two children, an 8 year old son who is on the Autistic Spectrum and a 2 year old daughter.
By profession I’m a Specialist Occupational Therapist working full time in the NHS and as much as I adore my profession I’m a big food lover too, baking in particular. In between my working hours, managing the kids and running the house you’ll find me in my Kitchen exploring ingredients, blending flavours and creating recipes inspired by spice.
Chinskitchen is a food blog I started back in 2013, it’s an all vegetarian food blog where I share recipes influenced from World cuisine with a personal touch, thinking outside the box demonstrates my creative side. I’ve been passionate about baking since I was 12 years old and over the years I have baked cakes for family and friends on various occasions. Last year Chinskitchen launched a range of Mithai/Indian inspired cakes from Gulab Jamun to Salted Caramel Gajjar Halwa available to order. Each cake is handcrafted using good quality and all natural ingredients. Baking is a niche and to create bakes with Indian spices is quintessentially a niche for Chinskitchen.
What Inspires you?
My love affair with food started from a very young age watching my mum and grandmother prepare delicious traditional Gujarati and International dishes. This passion fuelled even further when I used to observe my mum create fabulous cakes, treats and desserts on special occasions, always “wowed” by how simple ingredients turned into wonderful creations. As time has passed, I find inspiration from various aspects of life, it could be reading through a recipe and tailoring it to my requirements or watching food and drink programmes or even to a simple shopping trip.
Nowadays, with an abundance of world foods available, inspiration is everywhere. Spices for me are a great source of inspiration, not only are they used in various cuisines for flavour but they have great Ayurvedic properties too, I can easily pick up a spice and start creating ideas and pair flavours together. Over the past year I won a competition at the Cake and Bake show where I was baking live in front of an audience with another contestant. This was so inspiring for me as it gave me the opportunity to talk to a wider audience about my style of baking and how to create wonderful flavours with simple spices. The Judges response was overwhelming and it motivated me to focus and continue with my unique style of baking.
What’s your message to AWMB Community?
If you have a dream or aspiration work towards it, life will always be a bumpy ride but when you have a passion for something focus and ride through those challenges and obstacles. Reaching your goals may take time and sometimes you will experience negative situations and set backs before positives but never loose focus, rise above it and carry on.
During 2013/2014 I went in for emergency operation to save sight in my right eye, I had retinal detachment and it was quite severe requiring to be operated upon three times. This year was very tough but having my focus of kids and baking I was able to embrace this situation and look at it positively, that although I’ve lost minimum vision in the right eye atleast they saved majority of it. This in fact was a lesson for me that I did not want to lose any opportunities or time and hence it motivated me even more to focus on my goals.
Social media is a great way to network with other like minded individuals, I’ve received some fabulous support and opportunities from these platforms. In 2013 I made it through to the final auditions for Great British Bake Off and if you have been through these auditions you would know that it’s not easy, although I didn’t make it to the final 12 making it into the final auditions was in itself a huge achievement and inspiration. To reach my goal it may take another few years as the cake business and food blog is only run part time around my work and home life however, my passion will always fuel me to work harder and challenge my creativity and skills. Never give up on your Dreams! 🙂
Tell us something that would surprise us about you.
Apart from cooking and baking, I absolutely love dancing, and have performed Indian folk and Modern Dancing as a child and into my teens, at one point I wanted to pursue a career in Dancing, however, I chose to take the caring role into healthcare. I also taught dancing to children in schools for their annual school performances. Sometimes when I’m baking, I’ll have music playing in the background and I’m dancing away whilst baking, perhaps I could be the dancing baker 😉
You can connect with Chintal on Twitter @chintalkakaya