When most 17-year-olds were out swinging bats, chasing balls, and wooing girls, Shivesh Bhatia was romancing Instagram by baking delicious and visually alluring desserts in the kitchen. Desserts that led him to being recognised as one of the best bakers on Instagram, as well as getting a shoutout by the kitchen goddess Nigella Lawson herself. For a 21-year-old Delhi University student, we would say that Shivesh definitely stands apart from the crowd.
The political science student at Hindu College started baking one year before he legally became an adult, when he chanced upon Linda Lomelino’s website, Call-Me-Cupcake. Looking at her beautiful dessert pictures calling at him as if from the computer screen, Shivesh thought, “Hey, I can do this as well!” And then a star was born!
Shivesh humbly admits that he never imagined his passion would be received so well the world over. Currently, he has 74.7K followers on Instagram – which FYI he joined because he thought it was a great photo editing app. And a quick scroll through his feed explains exactly why. His pictures scream, “Eat me, eat me!” – his food looks inviting, delicious and beautifully photographed.
Shivesh prefers cooking sweet over savoury because there is discipline that needs to be maintained while there is also scope for experimenting with flavours. “I like following a recipe,” he says, “initially it gave me a direction”. The first batch of cupcakes Shivesh made were burnt but that didn’t stop him from carrying on. He continued to follow recipes and videos on YouTube to improve his art and learn more. And he still carries on watching YouTube videos for inspiration and also to build on his recipe bank. “I think for anyone out there who’s interested in baking, following a recipe through and through is a must. It makes your baking foolproof. And of course, a few tips and techniques make you stand out from the rest,” he says. Tip and techniques, you say? How does one get access to them? “Well,” he says, “I guess it’s about practicing and reading a lot to keep learning and growing.”
DSSC asked the self-taught baker the three pointers a newbie into the baking world must keep in mind:
- Measurements need to be precise
- You need to have complete knowledge about your ingredients. For example, you should know the difference between baking powder and baking soda
- And passion. If you don’t have passion and don’t believe in your cooking, then I don’t think your bakes will turn out well
However, it’s not only the taste of his desserts that won him so much accolade, but also the sheer beauty of his photographs. Food is as much a visual game as it is an olfactory and gustatory game. Shivesh agrees and says, “If my food doesn’t look beautiful, then no one will want to eat it. So it’s very important to photograph your food well.”
We asked him for some wise advice to click stunning pictures:
- Keep your frames simple and add more light, which gives a fresh touch to food pictures
- I like adding lots of bright colours and fruits to my pictures
- I think the 90 degree angle adds great depth
- The dessert needs to be the star of the plate so it’s very important to understand the texture and nature of the dessert. At the same time, add different textures and colour to break monotony in the photograph
It’s rather impressive that he daily posts original content on Instagram, maintains a blog, does collaborations with established food brands AND turns up for classes, submits assignments and sits for his college exams. “It is a task juggling college and the baking part of my life, but I wouldn’t exactly call it difficult,” he says, because it’s passion that drives him. “At the end of the day, I love what I do and that really matters.”
In July, Shivesh is going to enter third year of college and post that he’s still wondering over a post graduation in Political Science in the UK or a pastry course from at Le Cordon Bleu or both. “I think I need to have a plan B, which is why I’m thinking about political science but my first priority is a career in food,’ he said.
Let’s get real people, it ain’t easy getting almost 75K followers organically. Shivesh’s journey is real. He baked real food, posted real pictures and ergo, gained real loyalty. His spotless pictures never fail to make us blush like deep red cherry syrup on a cupcake and open our refrigerator in hopes of finding something equally yum.
This conversation is a part of the DSSC Secret Conversation Series, where we get candid with the ace of base industry disrupters.
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Cover picture: commeat.com