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When the pandemic hit, sisters Akash and Tanvi, originally from Bombay, India, both found themselves out of work and, like many of us, were in search of new ways to occupy their time. So, they started their own bakery, Little Sister Baking, drawing primarily on fond childhood memories of their hometown for inspiration.
Akash is a professional Cordon Bleu-trained pastry chef who combines French-style baking techniques with ingredients from Bombay to formulate what can only be described as supremely delicious treats. Initially, Akash used Instagram to share her baking adventures with friends and family and made sweets reminiscent of her hometown.
Soon they began receiving messages from people asking to buy their home-baked goodies, which prompted them to start selling to friends and family. But it wasn't long before more people started reaching out in the hope of getting their hands on some sweet treats. So, in January of this year, Tanvi and Akash decided to expand and began working out of a commercial kitchen. They implemented more of a routine, compiled a menu and started taking pre-orders to make sure they weren't wasting food.
Though Akash is in charge of baking, they come up with the menu together. Tanvi will take a call every week with her sister to discuss flavour ideas ranging from tastes they've enjoyed in their past, combinations they want to experiment with and tastes that remind them of childhood. Tanvi also works on the business end, organizing pick-ups and deliveries and running their social media.
Everything pretzel with scallion cream cheese, roasted garlic parm pretzel with marinara and za’atar pretzel with labneh dip.
"People see things they used to eat as kids in our food," explains Tanvi. For many, the ingredients Akash uses, such as chai and Alphonso mangoes, are staples from early childhood that aren't often found in western cooking. "One group of people see their childhood or their culture in the food, for the other group of people it's not familiar but it's intriguing, it's things like, butter chicken in a puff pastry that people might not have thought about," says Tanvi.
Chicken Tikka Pizza.
Akash and Tanvi are from Bombay, which in the past was a hub for the British, Dutch and Portuguese, and the long-lasting impact of their occupancy can be found in the flavours you see in Indian food. "In Bombay, we have bakeries that do the usual buns and puffs and things like that, but they will add a bit of an Indian twist, and so that's where our inspiration comes from."
Orders can be pre-made through Tock for pick-up or delivery through DoorDash and items rotate frequently. This weekend's menu includes Keema/Chilli Cheese Buns and a S'mores Dippy Cake.