We also knew just the place to get our hands on some scrumptious Diwali sweets but how does a space function right in the thick of a festival?
Milonee ( @milonee.madiyar ) who works as an assistant manager and Shikha ( @potatotakesontheworld ), resident food scientist at Bombay Sweet Shop tells us what attracted them to BSS, their daily rituals and their favourite memories of mithai with glimpses of the inner workings of their workspace.
Introduce yourself and what you do at Bombay Sweet Shop?
Milonee: Milonee or Milo - in a few words, I love the sea and documenting everyday life around the city! I work at Bombay Sweet Shop as an Assistant Manager, mainly handling Operations.
Shikha: Hey I’m Shikha Ranka, just a girl who loves and lives to eat. As Hunger Inc’s resident Food Scientist, my day to day usually involves doing research and development required to support our kitchen team, quality control and working on ways to scale up and commercialize all the amazing stuff we make here. Basically figuring out how to bring the Bombay Sweet Shop experience to our customer’s homes across the country.
What attracted you to Bombay Sweet Shop?
Milonee: During my first conversation with the founders, I was taken through the concept of Bombay Sweet Shop through a presentation. In fact this was when the space was not even built and I was absolutely fascinated. It didn't need too much convincing after :)
Being part of the pre-opening team for Bombay Sweet Shop will always be a very special experience for me. The work culture and the emphasis that the team is the driving factor is what keeps us going everyday!
Shikha: My favorite movie as a kid was ‘Charlie & the Chocolate Factory’, the idea of a chocolate factory where anything is possible was magical. So when I heard about Bombay Sweet Shop & the Willy Wonka-esque nature of it, there was an instant connection. After a quick visit, and multiple delicious mithais later I knew this was the place for me.
Pictured above: Milonee wears all silver New Dreams Medallion Necklace, Samsara Full Pearl Necklace, Drift Cuff, Mega and Macro City Rings, Vision Ring Slender, Medium Vision Hoops with Nagally Pearl Strand Necklace and City Cuff 4 in Gold Tone.
Do you have any rituals before you start your day?
Milonee: A cup of coffee before I leave home, and a jamming loud playlist on my way to work! I think it gets me pumped for the day!
Shikha: The first thing I do as soon as I’m up, is walk groggily into the kitchen and make myself a cup of masala chai, only then does my day truly start.
What are the first three words that come to your mind when you think of Diwali?
Milonee: Mithai, Nostalgia, Family
Shikha: Diwali for me has always been about family, lights and mithai, tons of it.
Pictured above: Shikha wears String of Pearls Hand Harness, Vision Ring Slender in Gold and Silver Tone, Macro City Rings in Gold and Silver Tone, Big Drift Textural Hoops and Wandering Crescent Moon Necklace.
If you had to eat one sweet for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
Milonee: I think the Gujarati in me would choose Gur Papdi. It is essentially ghee, wheat flour and jaggery with some shaved dry fruits on top. My dadi has always pampered me with this treat ever since I was a kid. In fact, once in a while, even now!
From Bombay Sweet Shop's menu, it would hands down be the Kaapi Paak! It's been there since inception and I can't get enough of it. In fact another morning ritual is enjoying the leftover trimmings of this treat when the team is cutting the mithai!
Shikha: This is a tough one, but it would have to be rabdi from Mount Abu. Freshly made by the locals, this creamy, cold and super luscious rabdi served in a kulhad is mithai perfection.
Favourite team activity?
Milonee: At Hunger Inc., we host a 'Townhall' every month. This essentially is an open forum where the team gets together. Each of the restaurants host it separately and here we discuss everything important. From introducing new members, highlighting achievements to upcoming events, it brings me immense joy having everyone under the same roof and leading this.
P.S. These meetings have some great snacks too and that always helps!
Shikha: Has to be our mithai tastings, it's always fun to try things our chef has been working on for different occasions. Ideating as a team over new product & packaging ideas is always fun.
Favourite memory of Mithai?
Milonee: I was quite a fussy eater and my grandma made sure that she prepared some Gur Papdi for lunch every time I wasn't in the mood.
Shikha: As kids we would look forward to Sunday evenings, because it meant eating dosas followed by something sweet from a ‘bhaiya’ right outside the restaurant. From his cart, he would serve crispy bite sized jalebis fresh from the kadhai on a banana leaf and you could eat these by the handful. Accompanied with a glass of malai laden masala milk, it was pure joy.
Do you remember your first mithai? What was it?
Milonee: Aam Papad! My granddad used to buy them for me and my cousins! Safe to say, we had no problem making it disappear.
Shikha: My first mithai memory is eating gulab jamuns at this local eatery in Bangalore, where I grew up. These were melt in your mouth scrumptious, and our Bombay Sweet Shop pistachio filled gulab jamuns take me right back.
Weirdest food combo, but is it really good?
Milonee: Vanilla with Dodha Barfi — our new soft serve. I was hesitant to try but oh my god- SO GOOD!
Shikha: A spoonful of Peanut butter stirred into freshly made top ramen noodles. Creamy, nutty, salty and spicy, it's the perfect snack. Don’t knock it till you try it!
What is your best seller during the festive season?
Milonee: Our Diwali Assorted Mithai box is a great choice since it has a selection of all our new mithais!
What led you to become a food scientist?
Shikha: Growing up I always knew I was going to be a scientist, your quintessential lab coat wearing, pipette holding, vaccine concocting scientist. Not realising my love for food could be part of this picture I’d painted.
During the course of my microbiology degree and subsequent internship at a food consulting firm, I realised that being a scientist could mean so much more. I could take my love for food and science and turn it into a legitimate career that didn’t lead me to culinary school, which upto that time seemed like the only way one could pursue food as a career.
So, I got a Masters in Food Science and Business, and went on to finally work as a food scientist at Kraft Heinz in the US prior to becoming a part of the Hunger Inc. family.
What's the most innovative mithai at Bombay Sweet Shop?
Milonee: The Patissa bar! It's our take on an Indian candy bar. Since we have all grown up eating popular western candy bars like twix, mars or even bounty, the idea was why not have an Indian inspired version of it?
It is layers of Patissa, caramel, coconut fluff, pepper caramel and finally each bar is dipped in chocolate. The process of making it is so meticulous. From setting all the layers in perfect proportions to hand dipping and garnishing each one, the entire process is fascinating to watch every time!
What was your first food experiment?
Shikha: Funnily, my first “food experiment” was not in a lab. It was a young me trying to recreate cheese fondue at home, playing around with various quantities of milk and literally every kind of cheese Amul made at the time, striving to get that perfect stretchy pull. While not an actual experiment, it was the first time I realised that there is synergy in the way ingredients work, and understanding that is so important to be able to create the perfect food experience.