Pat-a-Cake

Madan Mohan Malviya Marg

An artisanal bakery that derives its name from a nursery rhyme caught the eye of kindergarteners and their parents who came to pick up their kindergarteners from Red Hill School on Gokhale Marg towards the end of the last millenium. Abhishek Gupta, started this business in 1999. His family lived in an old-style bungalow Clay Square. Abhishek was studying in the Institute of Hotel Management (IHM) in Goa, when the news of his mother’s illness came to him. He took a transfer to IHM Lucknow to be closer to his mother; completed his course; and promptly installed an oven in the garage of. His father was a manager with a prominent pharmaceutical firm, had grave doubts at first, but is now part of the enterprise himself. However, Abhishek was encouraged by his elder brother and his bhabhi to try and make this enterprise a success. Initially, the garage oven used to supply bread, pizza base and burger buns to restraunts. He got married to Sandhya, also an IMH graduate and a major contributor to the success of the enterprise. Sandhya not only helped with production, but also implemented the idea of cookery classes for the general public. Abhishek had learnt to cook and bake not only in IHM, Goa; the Taj and Renaissance in Goa by that time, but had also charmed his Goan landlady into revealing her Goan-Portuguese recipes for Plum Cake and sundry confections. Pat-a-cake’s best seller in retail is the Bullseye—a warm doughnut with a scoop of ice cream in the centre. There are more than 15 variants of the Bullseye on sale today. Another success is the chicken patty. In those times, Japji Foods (JJ Bakers) were the leading patisserie/bakers in Lucknow, but they were strictly vegetarian. Abhishek consulted with his friend and colleague Nitin who offered him space next to Nitin’s Pack and Chew to start the outlet. For the next several years, Abhishek, his brother and Nitin would ruefully sit down to consume unsold chicken patties by the dozen at the end of the day. Times changed, thankfullly, in a few years. Customer awarenes grew, and Bao Buns and other exotic eats were included in the menu. When asked to reminisce, he recalls an order for a 100-foot long cake they baked for then Prime Minister AB Vajpeyee. The PM didn’t get any of it, and they ended up eating it themselves because the customer had not got it cleared by the PM’s security bandobast!