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Shayesta Kibriya: A force of passion

"I am passionate about what I do, and never want to stop learning new skill sets and exploring new cultural cuisines!"

My name is Shayesta Kibriya and I have been formally trained as a digital strategist. I am committed to offering creative solutions in placing products, people, and services. My latest avatar is that of a Foodpreneur under the branding Food Passionista! I have been baking and cooking since 2016, serving an in-house group of friends and family. From 2020 onwards, I officially started catering to larger groups of friends, organizations, family and relatives.

I studied media and communications for my higher education with a specialization towards advertising. We have a home-grown advertising agency as part of the family run business that my dad started in the mid 1980s. With the digital boom occurring in India last decade, I grew interested in social media marketing. This led me to pursue a Certificate Course on Digital Marketing from Calcutta Media Institute in association with the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).

When I am not busy creating content or developing campaign blueprints for my family business, I bake and cook for my own entrepreneurial food venture called Food Passionista. It fills me with immense joy when my customers give positive feedback, i.e. keeping both their tummies happy as well as their pockets light!

Food Passionista functions as a bakehouse as well as a cloud kitchen. My 150+ clientele often find me #ChefMaineeMo aka #MoBaker busy all by myself cooking, baking, packaging and running around delivering those yummy bakes. A true multitasker and an avid sportswoman, I play by the rules of the game, I am passionate about what I do, and never want to stop learning new skill sets and exploring new cultural cuisines!

Although the story behind Food Passionista goes back a couple of years, it was officially launched in May 2020. During that time, the globe was reeling under the lockdown imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Personally, I saw how my country was suffering with the economy going down - unemployment, homeless labourers, starvation, youth workers’ migration, inflation, etc.

As my passion for food preceded everything else, I decided to embark on this journey regardless of the challenges. Both my mother and I love baking, so we initially offered a few desserts and tea cakes, for which we started taking immediate orders. To our delight, we received an amazing response to our very first bake-a-thon! All our customers fell in love with our homemade Coffeelicious, Orange Cake, Heavenly White Chocolate Moussecake, to name a few. I introduced Fudge Brownies and the popular Frosted Chocolate Cake in the second edition, to which we received an overwhelming response again. In keeping with numerous customer requests for savouries, three meat items were introduced in subsequent editions – French Cheesy Chicken Muffins, Stuffed Chicken Mughlai Parathas and Shammi Kebabs. Additionally, vegetarian snacks, vegan as well eggless desserts were made available on request.

Meanwhile, the venture logo of a ladle spoon was designed and the tagline was decided as “Happiness is Homemade”. I drew out templates for the menu, font styles, typography and colour schemes. Food Passionista needed to have an online presence along with a direct system for client orders so a Facebook page was created. I reached out to all friends and family, who placed orders, to follow and share the page and spread the word. Many were generous to leave encouraging customer feedback and recommend it to their networks further.

Once the complete lockdown was lifted, I recorded ASMR taste tests amongst my friends, aunts, uncles and family members! Food Passionista was gaining word-of-mouth and we had to keep up the momentum with various editions themed around Teachers’ Day, Friendship Day, Raksha Bandhan, Independence Day, Diwali, etc. A variety of cheesecake flavors and festive combos get regularly added to our dynamic menu.

As an entrepreneur I ensured that all the company registration and inventory management was in place. Safety compliance is an essential part of successfully establishing a business. I wish to incorporate fusion dishes and new desserts that are befitting of a global platter whilst maintaining food quality and hygiene. And here’s hoping that we continue to receive more love and appreciation!

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