Presidential Scholarship recipient Aashrit Sundar’s passion for baking and pastry is palpable. Here, the new A.A.S. Baking and Pastry student from Bengaluru, India, shares how he has fueled his atypical professional choice through education and work at the Ritz-Carlton:
“As an 11 year old, I baked my first sponge cake (slightly unsuccessfully), soaked with strawberry syrup and topped with Cadbury’s Gems, for my mother’s birthday. Since then, I have tried various recipes, for cakes, desserts, jams, pickles, sauces, and Indian foods at home and have always loved working in the kitchen. With the support of an aptitude test that clearly showed I am creatively inclined, I chose to take up a course in hospitality and hotel management, with a focus on culinary arts. After my initial years of experiencing all culinary aspects, I have decided that my basic passion in baking has to be my specialization.
“I completed a bachelor’s in hospitality and hotel administration from the prestigious Institute of Hotel Management (IHM) Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition in Mumbai, India. During these courses, I worked with the food production team at the IHM Trade Fair in Mumbai and took part in the Tata Sky Active Cooking Competition where participants were required to record the preparation of Indian gravy. I also trained at the prestigious Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai where I had the opportunity to work in the various kitchens under the sous chefs. I particularly enjoyed working in the confectionery section and learning to work with fondant and pastries, as the hands-on training in chocolate making and patisserie work was incredibly beneficial.
“The experiences during my training and the baking and pastry classes led me to the realization that, from creating a simple Pannacotta to a making the perfect sabayon for my mousse, I enjoy every moment of this work and constantly strive to increase my knowledge of ingredients, methods, and techniques in the art of baking. As a commis chef in the baking and pastry department at the Ritz-Carlton in Bangalore, India, each day further developed my understanding of this field.
“Now, enrolled at Kendall College, the Associate of Applied Science Degree in Baking and Pastry is a way for me to continue to improve my knowledge and learn about the international techniques and standards. With my passion for baking and coming from a developing country where pastries are still a luxury and the art is still at an infancy stage, I feel that upon successful completed of my degree in baking and pastry, I will be able to bring a unique combination of the Western and Indian traditional culture.
“Coming from a moderate income family in India, I have broken from the traditional choice of courses to pursue my passion. I am sure that once I am in this field, I shall be able to excel. I look forward to working hard, pursuing my passion, and exceling in this field.”