Harper's Bazaar (Singapore)

NAADHIRA ISMAIL Mother DoughBaker­y


Why do you do what you do?

I love seeing things being made from scratch. In the process of making bread and pastries, all of your five senses are activated in the kitchen. The feeling of having a freshly baked croissant or baguette in the morning with coffee, creating a business around that, watching it and the team grow, is a chaotic process. But I enjoy carving out a system from the chaos.

What is your first visceral memory of food?

As a kid, watching my mother make soft-boiled eggs in the mornings and having my grandmothe­r’s creme caramel for tea. The memories of how they made these simple foods— through acts I find delicate and precious—are forever ingrained in the actions and decisions made in my kitchen.

What excites you about the industry today?

Firstly, I’m excited that people are now open to new flavours and are bold enough to try out new things. Secondly, in this expansion of flavours in the industry, people are digging deeper into their personal history and heritage to find greater meaning and appreciati­on for the different tastes they are creating and experienci­ng. These two things hand-in-hand definitely excite me both as a business owner and a food lover.

Why do you do what you do?

First and foremost, I want to leave a mark. It can be big or little, as long as I leave one. This, together with a desire to share my story and the essence of who I am, led me to start a vegan ice cream brand. I also want to set an example for my two little girls—that with a lot of hard work, enough passion, and a little spunk, the possibilit­ies are endless.

What is a lesson you have learnt through failure?

A big lesson I learnt on this journey is that it’s generally impossible to please everybody. I used to get so carried away with each and every request from our customers. By offering too much too soon, I got to a point in the business where I lost focus, was overloadin­g my kitchen staff, and even compromise­d the business operationa­lly. If your products are good and the customers like your brand, they will come back. It’s important to stick to what you’re good at, offer products and implement changes that are feasible, and always take into considerat­ion your team’s input.

What excites you about the industry today?

There has been a drastic shift over the last few years and I am personally excited about two aspects. First, the explosion of the sustainabl­e food trend. Conscious consumptio­n on a global level is dictating how we’ll be eating—we have been and will be shifting even more towards plant-based foods. The second thing has got to do with ethics. As an industry, we must now connect with consumers differentl­y. Our customers are looking beyond products and are increasing­ly demanding transparen­cy. They are willing to understand brand value, and we need to be able to communicat­e that to them.

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 ?? ?? Blazer; jeans; top; bangle, Serina Bajaj’s own
Blazer; jeans; top; bangle, Serina Bajaj’s own

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