Vishu Rita Krocha
Kohima | December 14th
Closely following her mother’s instructions, Mhabeni Ngullie baked her first cake while studying in grade 6 in Kohima. âComing from a family of bakers, it was hard to ignore and I was really curious. But when I first tried it, we didn’t even have an oven. It was the fireplace with the help of sand, a double boiler and a large pot, âshe recalls.
“My first cake was obviously not baked,” she says between bursts of laughter while saying that “the point is, I was so curious that I kept opening the lid to see s ‘he was going up or not “. Having developed such curiosity and interest in baking at a young age, she continued to bake vigorously without any formal training.
A testament to this fact is his recent appearance on India’s first baking reality show hosted by Greed Goddess under the ‘Alpenliebe Juzt Jelly Bakers’ Studio’ banner in which 15 bakers were selected from across the country for the final round.
Mhabeni Ngullie, 36, was further placed in the top 5 winners and received a professional kitchen setup worth Rs 5 lakh from Alpenliebe Juzt Jelly. With this she is recognized as one of the next master bakers in the country and will also be “Alpenliebe Juzt Jelly Chef Ambassador” for a period of one year.
The show was filmed at Jaipur Zee Studio, for which she also visited Jaipur earlier in October. Interestingly, in addition to baking, she is currently working as a district account manager in the office of the Chief Medical Officer in Dimapur. âI can’t say I’m baking full time because I work here and mostly bake in my spare time,â she says.
âInitially, it was just for friends and family. I was distributing cakes and desserts, and eventually I started taking orders. As an amateur baker with no formal training, you also tend to doubt your abilities, and I didn’t have the heart to advertise thoroughly, âshe says.
However, baking was a familiar occupation for her from childhood as she grew up surrounded by bakers starting with her mother, aunts and daughters, who cooked for every occasion. It was during this time that she also developed her curiosity and her passion for pastry making. âI was really curious when I was a kid. This thing has been there since childhood and if I tasted something that I really liked I would think about the ingredients, the flavor or the way it was madeâ¦ I just thought about it all night, âsays- she.
Ngullie also says she doesn’t have a ânormal menuâ like red velvet or black forest, which are popular in the market. âI try not to follow that, but everything that is seasonal or even to try new recipes. I try to make my own caramel sauce and use it for my cakes or desserts, I buy as much as possible fresh local fruit to layer on cakes instead of using ready-made cakes â, she articulates.
She further admits that âthese recipes are so close to my heart because I developed them after so much trial and error. I have found a few of them by watching a lot of videos and practicing. For a single recipe, I would watch at least 10 videos, then choose dos and don’ts and develop my own recipes, âshe says.
Regarding the use of local fruits and ingredients, she says that “we don’t get all the berries that are normally used for cakes, but we can replace them much better with what is available locally.” Food, for her, has been a part of her since she remembered it, although she admits that “I can’t imagine not doing that, even if it gets very tiring sometimes”.
Mhabeni Ngullie is also on social media service Instagram as evao.ngullie.