Women@WorkWednesday: A chat with Chief Tasting Officer (aka Bawi Bride) Perzen Patel

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Bawi Bride

Pursuing her passion is what a Mumbai Mom does best. Perzen Patel is, thus, the quintessential Mumbai Mom. From writing about Parsi cuisine as a young bride to actually selling it, Perzen’s entrepreneurial journey gained further momentum when she became a mom. Join us as we track Perzen’s path from Bawi Bride to Bawi Mummy, in her own words.

BawiBride

 

I love the feeling I get when a room full of people are satiated with the food my company HAS cooked for them.

 

Mumbai Mom (MM): Perzen, our readers would love to know how you entered this particular field? Was it always a pursuit of your choice?

Perzen Patel (PP): Food and writing are my two big passions in life. Even though I started the Bawi Bride blog as a bit of a joke (I didn’t know how to cook any Parsi food when I started),  I was excited when my husband suggested I actually try selling the food I was learning to make. I have studied Hospitality and worked in catering and marketing, so owning my owning food business was always a dream of mine. Today I indulge my love of writing with my two blogs on food and motherhood and I indulge my love for food by cooking and serving up delicious Parsi food.

MM: We’d love to know what a day in your life is like. 

PP: A day in my life has changed dramatically since I became a mom and I am still learning how to juggle all the balls in the air with my writing, my business and my son. A typical day starts with me feeding and getting my son ready. Since I work from home right now, while he is playing, I work on my business and administrative tasks and any free moment I get or when I need a break, I try to brainstorm some writing ideas. In the evening we generally go out for a walk or spend time with our extended family which is followed by an early dinner and then bed for my son. Once he is asleep, I write or read up on articles.

MM: What are the sources of your inspiration? How do you keep that well replenished or remain motivated?

PP: I love everything there is to love about startups. Even before I started my own business, I’ve worked and collaborated with many startups so seeing their success and ensuring that one day my brand too creates that kind of dent in the world is what keeps me going. Every time I need a bit of motivation, I only have to spend some time with my son. My husband already has an established jewellery business of his own but I want my son to have two healthy and viable businesses to choose from should he want anything to do with the food business once he grows up!

MM: What is your creative space(s) and what does it mean to you? Is it the same as your workstation(s)? 

PP: My creative spaces are definitely my two blogs. With my mommy blog, expressing about my day to day life with my son has helped me cope with motherhood better and not feel lonely. It’s lovely having that sense of community with moms that this blog has helped me create. With my food blog, documenting lost Parsi recipes and hunting down food stories as well as trying new recipes is great fun. I don’t get to do much experimentation with the latter currently given all the balls I am juggling but every time I do get to step into the kitchen it’s  a time of relaxation for me.

Bawi Bride
Inspirations

MM: How does being a woman and/or mother affect /inform your work, if at all (inspirations, challenges…)

PP: You won’t see many women in hospitality, especially moms, because the hours are long and the work is physically strenuous too. However, if you have a passion for food and talking to people there is no other industry like it. So yes, even though it is challenging, I love the feeling I get when a room full of people are satiated with the food my company cooked for them. And it’s this feeling that keeps me going on the tough days.

MM: Could you share with us some of the particular personal challenge(s) you faced in your professional life and overcame?

PP: One of the biggest challenges I had to overcome was mustering up the courage to leave my job to focus full-time on my startup. It’s easier to leave your job when you hate the daily rigmarole of a corporate environment. However, I had a really great job where I could work flexible hours from home doing marketing for a dynamic startup. At the same time, my business had come to a point where if I didn’t focus on it full-time it would not be able to grow. I was lucky to have the support of my husband to still go ahead and leave my job and do what I love. Some other personal challenges I’ve overcome also include learning to say no to things that take up my time but don’t yield many results and also learning how to manage a team of lady chefs.

I am a firm believer in ‘Things only happen when the time is right’ so I keep doing all the little bits I love to do and the rest I leave to the Universe.

MM: How does your geographical location impact your #creativity/#work goals?

PP: Running my business from home over the course of my pregnancy and maternity leave has been tough as I’ve had to scale down various revenue streams as well as reduce the size of my team. However, it allowed me hands-on time with my son that I could never have given him otherwise and for that I have no regrets. I am however looking forward to moving to a bigger kitchen in the coming months so that we can feed our delicious food to many more mouths.

Bawi Bride
Delicious Dhansak

MM: What are your future plans in your journey?

PP: In the near future, I am working to partner with another entrepreneur friend of mine, Subhasree Basu. Together, in addition to our brands Bawi Bride Kitchen and Hungry Cat Kitchen we will be launching a third food brand, Lil Miss Greedy. Lil Miss Greedy aims to provide wholesome, home-style food to corporates, for both daily meals and events.

MM: A message for those interested in entering this field?

PP: It is easy to start your own catering thing at home and I always encourage anyone with the slightest talent in the kitchen to give it a go. However, it is not easy to grow this business and sustain it when you have to move out of home. In the latter case, make sure that your life revolves around food because otherwise you can’t cope with the long hours, personal time sacrifices and all the weekend work a catering business demands of you.

Bawi Bride
Pursue Your Passion

MM: If you had to re-do everything, what would you change the next time around?

PP: Nope. I wouldn’t change a single thing. I am a firm believer in ‘things only happen when the time is right’ so I keep doing all the little bits I love to do and the rest I leave to the universe.

MM: Thank you, Perzen. It has been a pleasure to interact with you. We wish you the greatest success in all your future endeavours and may Bawi Bride continue to feed our body and soul with delicious Parsi cuisine.

(All pics courtesy Perzen Patel)

Read about Mumbai Mom’s pop-up lunching experience on Navroze with Bawi Bride  and of course, food definitely figured in the festivities as did many other interesting things.

(Perzen Patel is Mumbai’s Bawi Bride and now Bawi Mummy as well. She has founded an award-winning Parsi food blog that shares recipes and family food stories as well as a mom blog that documents her journey with motherhood. When she is not writing, Perzen aims to spread happiness through Dhansak with her company Bawi Bride Kitchen, a gourmet Parsi food service that does catering, popups and events across Mumbai.

She can be contacted here:
1. www.instagram.com/perzenpatel
2. https://www.facebook.com/PerzenPatel/
3. www.twitter.com/PerzenPatel or www.twitter.com/BawiBride).

 

 

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