Quarantine Home Bakers: Amma Nisa & Simply Sweet By Sulo

Oct 16 2020. view 199

In this series, we talk to people who turned their passion for food and baking into a business idea amidst lockdown and COVID-19 fears. Some have been in the market for years and others saw the new opportunity and took it! These home businesses are changing the game and have overcome the odds of running a business during the quarantine. Here’s how they did it.

Amma Nissa

What do you offer?
We offer a selection of Lamprais and an assortment of Amma’s favourite curries and Roti’s. Our Signature dishes are our Chicken and Fish Lamprais, Mutton Korma, Seer Fish Curry and Mozzarella Roti. There is nothing on the menu that we are not fond of. We want to share our love and passion for authentic local cuisine with everyone.

When did you start operations?
I started operations during Covid-19. I appreciate that it has changed all of our lives and disrupted our day to day. My husband used to work in the hotel industry and was forced into Sabbatical leave.  Rather than worry, as a family, we all came together to make Amma Nissa happen. His skills in the hotel industry came into use whilst building this up. A lot of careful preparation, training the staff in food handling and food safety are all very important to me and have all been set in place ensuring our customers get nothing but the best.  Both of our families have supported us to set up and our friends have become our closest clients for which we are so grateful.   

What was it like running your operations post curfew?
We did have many issues sourcing however we did get a lot of support from our suppliers (Partners) who are also small business owners and not mainstream. We purchase our meats and seafood from the same vendor my parents have been buying from for God knows how long. I'd rather call them partners than suppliers. They are family too.

How are you ensuring the proper hygiene measures are taken in preparation and delivery?
My husband, Kaleel is a qualified food and beverage professional with over 20 years of experience in the industry. He is all about food hygiene and customer satisfaction. We use hairnets and gloves in the kitchen and the highest standards of hygiene are always followed. He has incorporated a first in - first out method, colour coded utensils for different purposes, fridge and freezers are recorded, meat and seafood are segregated, and thawing cards are also used. Food hygiene is so important that even as a family we follow it rigorously day to day. 

What do you enjoy about baking and operating your own home baking business?
Being together with my family and creating something that all can enjoy.  We used to hardly spend quality time due to varied working hours, events and there are days Kaleel comes home and the kids are asleep. This has given us the opportunity to focus on all the positives and be grateful for everyone around us.  The icing on the cake is whilst infusing so much love in our cooking, we know that everyone’s enjoying it. That gives us a lot of pleasure. 

How has COVID-19 and the current state of the world changed your business and your baking?
We are still a very small family-owned and run start-up. We have to be open to change and innovate as we enter unknown territories. We have never had a long-term pandemic that gripped the entire world. There isn’t a handbook telling you how to run a business during Covid-19. I guess being adaptable to change and having a positive mindset will be utmost.

How do you Home Bakers plan on going forward post COVID?
The future is cloud kitchens, and home cooks can easily scale up. 

Any advice to anyone who wants to start their own business?
Go for it. Stay positive always. There’s never a challenge that can’t be overcome.

Amma Nissa takes orders through their social media pages (@ammanissa) on Instagram or Facebook and are now available on Uber Eats and plans to expand to other platforms. They accept Cash on Delivery and Bank Transfers.

Simply Sweet By Sulo

Simply Sweet by Sulo’s namesake Sulochana Fernando started her business during the imposed lockdown. “I come from a family of great cooks and amazing chefs, so I have always loved to bake. I would bake for my family and friends when I had the time and with the curfew period – I finally had the time to turn my passion into a business”.

What do you offer?
I initially started with Sri Lankan sweets such as Ala toffee, kiri toffee and (an all-time favourite from my parents’ days) gnanakatha. But my version of the gnanakatha is much softer than what we used to get back in the day. For chocolate lovers, I also have a choco gnanakatha. I have also recently added chocolate chip cookies and Oatmeal cookies to the product list. My best seller are mostly the Gnanakatha and the Oatmeal cookies and my personal favourite is the Ala toffee.

When did you start operations?
I started operations after curfew. I come from a family of great cooks and amazing chefs, so I have always loved to bake. I would bake for my family and friends when I had the time but never thought of starting a business. But during the curfew, when we had to work from home, I would bake my stress away. This was something that happened very spontaneously. I have a very supportive family and friends. If not for them I would have never thought of starting Simply Sweet by Sulo, they are also my guinea pigs for when I try something new.

How are you ensuring the proper hygiene measures are taken in preparation and delivery?
Since all items are prepared at home, very stringent hygiene measures are followed as each order is personalised to customer’s needs.

What do you enjoy about baking and operating your own home baking business?
What I enjoy most about baking are my customer’s reactions and receiving feedback from them. As I am baking on a part-time basis while juggling my full-time job, having all the operations at home is so much easier. Also having family around helps, as they help me out if I need. My father helps me with sourcing the items that I need and my mother and brother advise me when needed.

How do you see Home Bakers going forward post COVID?
I have noticed that a lot of home bakers have come forward post Covid. Despite this difficult time, home bakers have found an opportunity to share their hidden talents.

Any advice to anyone who wants to start their own business?
Just go for it! Start out even in a small way and then build up on it. There is no harm in trying something out and seeing how it goes. A close friend of mine always used to tell me that if I never tried, I will never know how it would turn out.

Simply Sweet by Sulo takes orders via Instagram (@simplysweetbysulo) and requires a minimum of 2 days notice in advance. They accept cash on delivery and bank transfers are available and pick up from Ward Place or delivery is offered.


Panchali Illankoon

Law Graduate, food and travel enthusiast and full time dog mom..


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