Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)

Mama’s Pot

- text Panchali Illankoon

In this series, we talk to people who turned their passion for food and baking into a business idea amidst lockdown and COVID-19 fears. Some have been in the market for years and others saw the new opportunit­y and took it! These home businesses are changing the game and have overcome the odds of running a business during quarantine.

With increased restrictio­ns once more, we talk to home bakers who are operating during these times to bring the sweet and savoury to your very own doorstep!

Quarantine home bakers

Mama’s Pot is a home based business that has gained popularity for their unique milk bread loaves.

The baker behind the brand comes from a generation of family who put their heart and soul into cooking and naturally, has a passion for it as well. “My grandmothe­r and mother passed on their love of cooking to me at a young age and we bonded over our adventures in the kitchen. ‘Mama’s Pot’ is entirely the brainchild of my own Mama who nudged me in to going through with this venture – hence the name Mama’s Pot. What I give to my customers is truly a piece of my ‘mama’ – scrumptiou­s food with a touch of love and passion!”

What do you offer?

We started ‘Mama’s Pot’ with our signature Biriyani and Nasi Goreng. We continue to make these classics from time to time while also adding on unique items that are truly inspired by our travels. In addition to our croissants, our current best sellers are our much sought-after milk bread loaves! We have four savoury milk breads: chillie, herb, mozzarella, garlic dough balls, cheesy garlic milk bread, chicken bacon milk bread, and cheesy tuna milk bread. On popular request from all our customers with a sweet tooth, we also have a loaded passion fruit milk bread. I am proud to say that all of these are bestseller­s and are highly demanded! I have the most amazing customers who are happy to be waitlisted even if the items are sold out.

When did you start operations?

Mama’s Pot was born in October 2020 during the second lockdown. There was no real intention at any point – it just happened! My mama and I were on one of our cooking adventures and by the end, we were just so happy and satisfied with the food that it suddenly struck us to share this same joy with others around us, especially during these uncertain times when you can’t go out, let alone travel, and enjoy something delicious.

What is it like running your operations in times like these?

Operating during COVID-19 and the lockdowns haven’t been easy. The biggest challenge has been sourcing ingredient­s. I am a stickler for perfection and simply cannot substitute ingredient­s. It is either all the best ingredient­s or none at all! During the current lockdown, I have had to sometimes turn down orders because our suppliers couldn’t provide the right ingredient­s on time. Ingredient­s are the centerpiec­e of our dish so this is something I simply cannot compromise on!

How are you ensuring the proper hygiene measures are taken in preparatio­n and delivery?

During preparatio­n, we follow all COVID-19 protocols concerning sanitisati­on and hygiene. All our ingredient­s’ suppliers also strictly follow COVID-19 protocols. We purchase our ingredient­s in bulk from our suppliers to minimise frequent exposure to them as well. Our delivery is carried out by a small and exclusive team. I am aware that some of our customers would prefer to ‘pick up’ orders than have them delivered. But by having a small team of our own delivering our goods, we minimise exposure to COVID-19 rather than when we have random drivers meeting our customers through other courier services. We are constantly ensuring that everyone involved with Mama’s Pot stays safe during these difficult times. Through our business, our customers and suppliers are like family to us! Hence, everyone’s safety is our priority always!

What do you enjoy about baking and operating your own home baking business?

I am not a full-time baker. Hence, through a home baking business, I can pursue my passion and share my love for baking and food at my own pace and convenienc­e! Another aspect that I enjoy is simply knowing that people are loving my food and I am contributi­ng to the joy in their lives through my baking adventures. Once the food has reached my customers, I do take time to reach out to them and ask them whether they enjoyed their order and if they have any feedback. Hearing them rave about how it made their day or those of their loved ones makes me excited! I would love to get feedback as this shows that they are invested in my love for food too!

How do you see home bakers going forward post Covid?

COVID-19 has presented opportunit­ies for home bakers like me. With the extra bit of time that we have had on hand, we have been able to share our passion for food. Mama’s Pot has helped me connect with people whom I have never met in person before! I also find that with the lockdowns, people have begun to savour the little things in life, including their food! This is also why I think that home bakers, including myself, have a great future ahead of us even after the pandemic subsides.

What’s next for your brand?

We are turning ONE on October 16 and we are busy sharing this special moment with all our customers with some great giveaways. Also, with only a few months of 2021 left, and as we inch towards Christmas, Mama’s Pot is working on a brilliant exclusive Christmas addition to our menu. This is something super special and I cannot wait to make the big reveal! As we all remain hopeful about 2022, Mama’s Pot is also looking forward to putting up a physical outlet. We are hoping to have a cosy nook filled with the smell of all of your favourite freshly baked goodies that will be available to you at your convenienc­e. An outlet will also help us meet all the lovely people who enjoy our creations!

Any advice to anyone who wants to start their own business?

TODAY is the DAY! If you are passionate about something and if you are convinced that you have the commitment and perseveran­ce, don’t think twice – just start! This is exactly how we started ‘Mama’s Pot’ – entirely on passion and hard work. I must also say that not everything will be easy but when you look back at yourself and your ‘business-baby’ you will feel proud, happy, and satisfied with what you have done and achieved. It is always important that you stay true to the spirit of your products, be authentic and genuine and give customers only something that you will enjoy. Even when someone copies my work, I am glad that I have been a source of inspiratio­n. Amid everything, make sure that YOU always do YOU!

Mama’s Pot takes orders via Instagram (@mamaspot. lk). Payment is via Cash on Delivery only and delivery can be arranged within Colombo and the suburbs.

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