"I was always fascinated by the smell of freshly baked cakes, bread, and cookies and observed my mother while she baked," says Sharmila Sen Gupta, a Dwarka mompreneur who has been giving baking classes for the last 20 years. Sharmila has never learnt baking formally. Her skill comes from an inheritance of the perfect amount of ingredients used by her mother, and the scent of freshly baked cakes that she loved since childhood.
"I learnt all the nuances of fine baking from my mom and later brought in my creativity." For Sharmila, baking is an art and her only passion. Now, she has an institute with government affiliation under the name "Cookery Expressions". Her online classes are superhit amongst the students and on successful completion of the Certificate/ Diploma Programs, the students are awarded government approved certificates.
She specializes in Gluten-free Breads, cakes, muffins, cookies, Pastries, cookies. Everything she bakes is egg-free and delicious.
Starting something from scratch and establishing a well-known business requires a lot of hard work and time. Sharmila was a stay-at-home mom who committed her life to her family before starting her business. However, after her son turned 12-13, she realised that she could now start her business while taking care of her family.
Sharmila is very passionate about baking and teaching. From 1999, Sharmila has been teaching baking to many ladies. She encourages her students to be creative and closely follows their progress. She loves to interact with people and do everything possible to help her students realise their dreams.
Post pandemic, she teaches online and the students are able to learn from the comfort of their homes. The online mode has enabled many students, from all over the world to attend her classes.
Creativity is the second name of Sharmila and her classes have a kind of uniqueness that sets them apart from others. When she attended baking classes in the '90s, she was never delighted with the lessons, so eventually, she quit and started experimenting with flavours. Later, she invented many of her own.
"I believe in women empowerment, and I think women should always be independent and know how to earn and take care of themselves and their families," says Sharmila.
Her cookery classes are doing exceptionally well and are solely for ladies. She believes, after marriage and kids, the priority of the lady changes. She looks for an opportunity she can take care of her family while also pursuing her dreams. This is where her classes come in.
Women from different backgrounds attend cookery expressions to learn and explore baking. Her students include ex-air hostesses, crime journalists, and IT professionals who want to try something new. For several women, her classes are an enriching and inspiring experience.
"In short, I aim to make a small difference in the lives of the ladies by making them self-sufficient. So I think I wouldn't like to leave teaching and start a commercial bakery. I am proud to say that my students are already doing this" says Sharmila.
Her classes have been very successful worldwide and have received fantastic reviews and feedback. She has a student base from Delhi/ NCR and Hyderabad, Jaipur, Amritsar, Kenya, Hong Kong, London, Maldives, etc.
She dedicates her success to her family and husband who has always supported her. In future, Sharmila would like to start a Baking Institute in Delhi.