It is June 6, 2015. I get up from bed in the morning and the excitement sets in. Yes! I am going to take my first official face to face interview with the amazing Tasneem Ayub. She is a homemaker, an entrepreneur, a beautiful home chef, a mother-in-law and the list just goes on and on.
So, before I interview her I need to frame the questions, do the background research and what not from my side. So I type Tasneem Ayub on Google and there falls oodles of information about her. This seriously scared me! People already had information about her in various blogs regarding how she was raised, her inspirations, her favorite forte of cooking etc. I didn’t want to bend ears by interviewing on the same topics, my mind started racing and of course I was just one step before being stressed. Then, all of a sudden a thought comes to my mind – why not direct the interview towards helping new home chefs, passionate cooks and find out information about Tasneem which is actually new and interesting! Finally, I was done writing down questions I wanted to ask her.
I arrive at her residence and there she is! She can easily be mistaken for a model or a fashion designer, kudos to her amazing dressing style. I was given a warm welcome. She introduced herself, briefed me on her background and asked me to shoot out my questions! With a little nervousness I thus began my interview.
I started off by asking her if blogging is mandatory for starting out your own cooking venture and she said blogging is a must for home chefs to talk about themselves, send messages globally, share cooking experiences and be open to suggestions.
Did you know? Tasmeem is working towards reviving all the traditional dying desserts and give them a new life in this modern world.
She was inspired to start the blog by meeting many like-minded foodies, sharing food experiences, joining the Chennai Food Guide group. For every recipe she posts on her blog, she makes sure to top it up with loads of tips and one can easily find a tip over here and a tip over there.
Did you know? Tasneem is known for her flavorful biryani right? Did you know that the secret behind that flavor is firewood cooking? Though firewood cooking is extinct, she makes sure she still uses that for making biryani as it takes the flavor and aroma to a whole new level.
There goes my next question “If a person is really passionate about cooking but time is the hindrance, what can be done”? She looks at me says “Find the time”. She strongly feels if you are really passionate about something, not only limited to food, you would always find the time. She also adds that men should be encouraged to step into the kitchen which would make a woman’s life easier and an opportunity to find some time for herself.
Did you know? Tasneem collects hand written recipes by her family and friends and has a huge collection of them. She plans to compile them and publish a cookbook in the future.
Next I ask the most important things to have in a kitchen. She says investing in good and adequate sized vessels, proper equipments and knives would make a huge difference. This made me ask her whether she is planning to start her own catering unit. She told me she is already undertaking corporate lunch orders at various software technology parks and makes sure each day the menu is different, tasty, as well as balanced. She is also planning to have a centralized kitchen to take her food business to the next level. Hearing this I asked her how she lets people know about her products, for which she replied, she has a marketing team intact for that job.
Did you know? Tasneem also has a tailoring business apart from her Ammees Kitchen and has been successfully running it over 20 years. She makes beautiful Embroidery and stitches salwar suits and blouse materials at a very nominal price.
She says most of her marketing is done by word of mouth and posting on Facebook. Social Networking Sites are becoming a very powerful marketing tool for people to reach across the globe. She then shows me pictures of the cakes designed by her and tells me that baking was a new concept to her. It was not passed down from her roots and she learned the art with the help of her friends and is doing a lot of research about them. This made me very curious and I asked her where she sources her ingredients from and I came to know she is a big believer of organic ingredients. She in fact uses only organic ingredients for her home as well for her business, as she feels food free of pesticides are safe and healthy to eat.
Did you know? Tasneem makes all her spice blends from scratch for every meal she cooks. She even grinds her own pepper, flours, ginger garlic paste and tries her level best to stay away from processed foods.
I was really lucky as I was offered two of her signature cakes to relish – The Dark Knight and the Kit-Kat cream cheese cake. She was too gracious to offer me two Dark Knights to take back home. I should say they were the best chocolate cakes I have ever had. It was just perfect and you would not be satisfied by eating just one. She later took me upstairs to show her kitchen. As soon as I reached upstairs, the aroma of food just caught my attention. She showed her preparation area, her baking area, her very own griller and her freshly ground spice mixes. My interview finally comes to an end and I am just not ready to leave that place. But my eagerness to write and share this wonderful experience with you all made me start from there after goodbyes and good regards.
Did you know? Tasneem believes that addition of Almonds and Khoa have the potential to make desserts absolutely toothsome.
Tasneem’s down to earth and friendly. This makes the people who work under her to never leave. She has people who have been working with her for over 20 years! Talent + Simplicity = Tasneem Ayub.
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