Baking has transformed beyond a simple hobby, as demonstrated by Chef Vedangi Gawde, who was honored with the 2024 Callebaut Pâtissier of the Year award


Could you tell us about your culinary path? What inspired you to pursue a career as a chef?

During my childhood, my mother used to bake cakes for us. These moments in the kitchen with her sparked my love for baking. Despite this, I chose to pursue a career as a Chartered Accountant, which did not go as planned. Eventually, I found myself driven back to the baking world, where the journey truly began. I enrolled for a diploma course at EPCM and did my postgraduate studies at APCA. I joined Sivako as a commis and advanced into a Chef de Partie role. Baking then became more than just a hobby. It was a passion from childhood, filling my life with creativity and satisfaction.

What sparked your passion for baking, and when did you make the decision to launch your bakery?

During the pandemic, I completed my B.Com graduation and realized that a career as Chartered Accountant wasn’t for me. I decided to follow my passion instead. With my parents’ support, I started my brand while pursuing my pastry diploma.

What are the upcoming growth strategies for Cherrybite Bakery?

I am not currently working on my brand and have put it on hold. I’ve been working with Sivako for the past two years, gaining new skills and experiences. I plan to return to my brand in the future, just not yet.

How did it feel to be crowned India’s Callebaut Pâtissier of the Year in 2024?

I had to present a bonbon, fresh pastry, snack on the go, mystery box, and a chocolate display. Crafting my signature in a pastry competition wasn’t just about baking but about showcasing my artistry. Sticking to the theme, I infused my creation with new techniques and unique flavors. I was very familiar with working with Callebaut 811, W2, and Madagascar, but this time, I thought of experimenting with Callebaut’s Single Origin Sao Thomé. I liked how the flavor was so intense, which really paired well with my flavor combination.

In the qualifier round, I gave my all to the competition. However, I was short of a few marks to qualify, so I held onto the hope of getting selected as a wildcard entry. And fortunately, I was! This was my comeback moment through my work at Sivako and training by Chef Eureka. I proved to everyone that I am a winner – and yes, I did it. I found myself competing against seven other talented chefs from across the field. My efforts, creativity, and Chef Eureka’s constant

support culminated when I was awarded the title of Callebaut Pâtissier of the Year in 2024. Winning this title was a phenomenal movement in my career.

In this Gen Z era where everything is Instagrammable, the saying “our eyes eat first” holds true. What are your thoughts on the significance of aesthetics and appearance in food, especially in the realm of pastries?

Absolutely. Our eyes do eat first. When a dessert is visually appealing, it catches our attention immediately. I love it when desserts are elegant and simple and not overly done. Of course, even though the look is important, taste is what truly matters in the end.