Remember the internet trend from a few years ago where you’d see an ordinary thing like a purse or a shoe or a banana until someone cuts into it to reveal that it’s actually cake? It even turned into a Netflix reality show calledIs It Cake?Many of pastry chef Eureka Araujo’s creations look like they belong in the show. Her ‘cake or fake’ repertoire includes a wallet, a vintage radio and the three-legged chair from Suzume.
The creative director of SIVAKO, an artisanal patisserie in Mahim, Mumbai, Araujo won the third position at the World Pastry Queen Championship 2023, which was held in Rimini, Italy in January. An artist who swears by a minimalist style, she also specialises in French pastry, viennoiseries and chocolates.
Araujo grew up in Goa and remembers fondly her childhood years watching her mother bake. The passion that caught her early led her to get a degree in culinary training. She worked as a senior chef-de-partie at Umaid Bhawan Palace and the Academy of Pastry & Culinary Arts (APCA) before starting her own venture, SIVAKO. Besides baking cakes, pastries and goodies based on regular and corporate orders, the chef also works with brands such as PVR and Fizzy Goblet.
In an interview with Lounge, Araujo talks about her need for a well-equipped workspace, her love for chocolate and where she finds inspiration.
It’s a cloud kitchen in Mahim, a 12,000 sq ft space. We have everything in terms of equipment from a blast freezer to a sheeter to the oven to the proofer. I don’t like to compromise on ingredients or equipment, so we have got everything from the smallest thing to the biggest.
My relationship with my workspace is one of creativity and innovation. It is where I bring my culinary visions to life, experimenting with flavors and techniques to create the best products for my customers. My workspace is a canvas where my passion for baking takes shape and where I constantly strive to exceed expectations. Beyond passion, it is also my space for discipline.
For me, eureka moments can’t happen in a secluded space, I need people talking around me. Everyone’s mind works differently. For me, it’s the weirdest thing: my ideas just pop into my head. Let’s say I have an order from someone who loves shoes. I would scroll through Pinterest, looking for inspiration and find nothing. But in the back of my head, the colours and design are coming together.
And you know how when you are thinking of a certain thing a lot, you tend to see it everywhere? So I start noticing shoes everywhere, and everything sort of comes together, giving form to a totally original idea. Then of course, we end up doing a couple of rounds of trial to see how to make it happen. A lot of good ideas come up when we’re discussing them as a team.
I actually have a vivid vision for the kind of space I want. But I’d rather make it happen before I share it with others.
Chocolate, always! It is the most versatile ingredient. You can do endless creations with it!
The cake I baked at home for my best friend’s birthday when I was in ninth standard! It was the first cake I ever baked on my own. I looked up how to make fondant on the Internet and made some using icing sugar…I remember I stuck two Oreos on top and put a nice pink ribbon on it.
Indumathy Sukanya is a Bengaluru-based writer and artist