The "Carrot Cake" Mini version served to the guests at the 2019 Retreat at Anahata Retreat.
I have four desserts featured on the L'atelier restaurant based onsite at Anahata retreat located on Ashvem beach in North Goa.
"The Bounty cake" - A three layered Plant based coconut cake.
Base : Oats, Dried coconut, Almonds, Dates, Flax-seeds, Vanilla, Coconut oil, Agave syrup, Lemon & Cinnamon
Filling : Dried coconut, Vanilla, Agave & Coconut milk
Topping : Vegan dark chocolate
Finishing : Pistachios, Cacao soil, Homemade Rose petal syrup, Dried Rose & Pistachio Brittle.
"The Raw Carrot Cake" - A two layered Plant based cake topped with Bitter / Sweet orange Cashew cream.
Base : Fresh shredded carrot, vanilla, walnuts, almonds, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, coconut oil, dates, agave syrup, flax seeds & Lemon
Filling : Cashews, Orange peel, orange juice, lemon, Agave syrup, coconut oil, Coconut milk & vanilla
Topping : Walnut, Salt, Dark Chocolate
Finishing : Dried Rose & Homemade Orange syrup.
"The Citrus Tart" - A tart with almond crust and Lemon filling.
Base : Almonds, dates, vanilla & flax seed
Filling : Lemon, lemon peel, cashews, agave, coconut oil, coconut milk & vanilla
Topping : Sesame brittle
Finishing : Cacao nibs, Homemade Rose syrup & Dried Rose.
"The Seasonal Mango Cheesecake - A Cashew cheesecake With Masala Chai base.
Base : Almonds, Oats, Agave, Vanilla, Masala Chai, Lemon, dates & flax seeds
Filling : Fresh Mango, Vanilla, Coconut milk, Coconut oil, Cashews & Lemon
Finishing : Sesame Brittle, Homemade Rose Syrup & Dried Rose
"Carrot Cake" at the dessert presentation and tasting in the Latelier Kitchen onsite at Anahata.
But it wasn't as quick and easy as it sounded. I didn't just go from the nice idea to it becoming a reality so fast. It took time. We went through a whole process in order to have on offer my desserts at the restaurant, but let me tell you it was well worth the wait.
Its all started back in November - we had already been in Goa for one month and I had just recently begun a relationship with the space Anahata retreat teaching daily Yin yoga classes for the season.
I was soon introduced to Angela the partner of Anahata Retreat and she was excited to hear about my idea to place plant based and vegan desserts on the L'atelier menu. The onsite, gourmet restaurant.
After her interest was confirmed I started planning and creating a number of dessert potentials for Angela to choose from before we cut down the list to four or five desserts for the final season menu.
I think I created around twelve dessert "titles" and presented them to Angela and few days later she came back to me.
Not long after she responded and confirmed the desserts she would like to finalise; the bounty cake; the carrot cake; the citrus tart; the cheesecake and a avocado mousse I realised I had some work to do!
The process was yet to be over.
"The Bounty" & "Mango Cheesecake" served to guests at Anahata Retreat
Now we had the refined list of desserts I created each dessert and invited the owners to our coffee shop for a tasting!
So Rishal and Angela both arrived and we had an evening with a dessert tasting where I plated the dishes as they would be served in the restaurant. They seemed to be very excited by the plating presentation that I created for each dessert and they enjoyed the sweet tastes alongside a coffee or two throughout the course of a few hours.
After that evening I received the feeling for the first time that this might actually be happening!! They loved the desserts and were just as excited as me to see them on the menu.
Over the next few weeks we finalised how the desserts would be made and we made a deal on how we would work with one another.
I spent a few days working out the costing and pricing ( all the technicalities ) and proposed my calculations and summary. Personally this was a nightmare for me as
I am not used to using so much my logical side. My mind likes to create! Its habitual to default into my right creative side of my brain so the technicalities of anything are a struggle for me and therefor something that I have in the past resisted, however this process is necessary and compulsory and in the long run benefits me as it gives me time to work the side of my brain that is usually less worked! ;) It refines my skills and offerings into something more professional and structured - a transition in which I was beginning and trying to undertake professionally anyway.
After a further few meetings over the next few days that followed after the tasting
we decided that the best way to move forward was to set up a space in the L'atelier kitchen where I would have a personal plant based dry pantry where every few days I would spend a few hours in the kitchen preparing the restaurant with the desserts.
By December the desserts went onto the specials board! My next goal was to have the desserts printed within the menu - with ink it felt more secure, more solidified than the desserts being written in chalk. So this was my short term mission!
By January the desserts made it on the printed menu - at this point it felt really official.
There were many moments throughout the process that I didn't think this would happen. That somehow it didn't seem real. That somehow at any point the offer could have been taken away from me and the idea would be pushed to the side and erased as if the offer was never there - I don't know why these worries came to me but they did, maybe it was because I had never worked with Angela before, maybe it was because chalk ( which the desserts were at first written in) could be wiped from the board at a seconds notice. Never the less it all seemed to be happening!
Now everything was confirmed and it had been a my first few times in the kitchen which is a story within itself. For the first few times, I was not so welcome. For the staff I was something new and unusual and I worked a lot differently to the culture that they are used to seeing work . For instance, I would wash the dishes that I used to make the sweets - this is unheard of as there are staff dedicated to this task. Or the fact that I am doing two roles - Working as a plant based dessert chef in the kitchen as well as teaching Yoga - this at first they could not comprehend as in India everyone has their role and you don't go outside the duty that has been set for you. So for them this was hard for them to understand and digest. It took more than the first few times of me being there for them to accept and begin understand.
In fact there was many times at first that I didn't want to go into the kitchen as I felt I stood out like a sore thumb and it was like my presence was not welcome , the space I required to make and store the desserts was not welcome and it was difficult at first as I was still working out my new environment, my system and where all the stock and tools were that I required to make the desserts as well as store them correctly.
But I guess its like anything. A change, something new or different comes along can take people a little back. It can make anyone feel uncomfortable or generally resistant towards the situation or the individual bringing that situation. So what I began to realise was to not take things so personally and as I already have some understanding regarding the culture differences I should take that into account before letting my emotions and ego take over. During those first few times in the kitchen I realised it isn't all about me, its about going through not only my thoughts but trying to see it from their side and understanding that it isn't actually anything I was doing or not doing its a process all in themselves not myself. And for me, I maybe showed them the experience they needed to learn for more exposure to the fact that one individual can have more than one talent, more than one duty, more than one task and do them all equally well. An overall they had to learn that this was how it was - I was going to be spending a number of hours in the kitchen and respect and friendliness was required during my time there.
Over a little time I saw more and more my system come slowly together and each time I arrived I was a little less noticed by the staff, a little more accepted and I became more familiar and efficient in my work space. I began to find my way around and the storing of the desserts became a little smoother.
By January end I found myself going to L'atelier every three to five days to restock the desserts.
The desserts were not only selling well they were selling out! During the Christmas period we sold many desserts and even catered to events making mini tasters of each of the desserts we have on selection.
To be doing two of the things I most love, to cook and to teach in a beautiful space, is a blessing and of course like most of us when our dreams are actually happening we sometimes forget that it was once a dream, I do remind myself over and over to be grateful of where I am during this time.
Its now February and we have a further few weeks until I take leave for a small trip to Thailand. I will no doubt be making the biggest batch of each desserts yet in preparation for my departure.
I am in high hopes that the guests and diners from outside keep enjoying my desserts throughout the remaining February and throughout March upon my return.
As the season will, by the time we hit mid march start to slow down and begin its ending the desserts will be requested less and less until Next season begins.
Much has been obtained, both in experience and being able to offer my offerings and actually being able to make a sustainable (well in India at least) living! Something I haven't experienced in a number of years- believe me. An it feels good! Actually it feels really amazing!
So I will continue to enjoy the remaining few seasonal months here in Goa, making desserts for a beautiful space on a little quiet beach in Ashvem, North Goa.
Ill try to remain grateful that people want to enjoy and experience my offerings and try not to forget this is a little dream of mine come true and it happened!! What seemed at the time it started back in November so far, but in actual fact it happened so soon!!
You'll find me over the coming months continuing to make, serve and enjoy the the process of making beautiful plant based desserts, teaching experiential Yin yoga sessions for the guests and taking and appreciating each day that comes this is my intent for now and for the next season.
I am excited that next season I will pick up where I leave off this season. That is something that gives me great comfort.
The desserts are finalised and are being enjoyed as we speak, The costing and all the technicalities have been confirmed and agreed.
Now all that is left to do is exactly this, to finish out this season and pick up where we leave off the next, but picking up at a more refined and understood place.