Sep 02 2021. views 211
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 quarantine. With increased restrictions once more, we talk to home bakers who are operating during these times to bring the sweet and savoury to your very own doorstep!
Priya Theverapperuma – Perera’s love affair with food began at a very early age, influenced by her grandparents. While professionally following a career in hotel management abroad, she realized her real passion was in cooking and moving back to Sri Lanka she opted to start her own business in food. “I realized that there was a lack of good, healthy wholesome food available in the market and thought it was the perfect opportunity for me to start doing what I love, which is cooking and feeding people, so I decided to start my own business. I take pride in providing healthy wholesome food which is, of course, delicious and I believe the name Delicious Days by Priya emulates that”.
What do you offer?
- I currently offer a range of pies, lasagnas, tarts, quiches and a range of desserts. I recently also started offering my customers curated weekly dinner menus which include a soup, main course, a salad, mashed potato and a dessert. These menus are catered to serve 2, 4 or 6 people and I thought especially due to the pandemic, with people not being able to go out, this is a nice way for the family to get together and enjoy a wholesome 3-course meal in the comfort of their home. The best sellers would be my range of frozen pies as they are extremely convenient when you need a quick meal as all you have to do is pop in the oven for 20 minutes and you've got yourself a delicious home-cooked meal with no added preservatives, colours or flavours. I am fond of the seafood tart which is another bestseller.
When did you start operations?
- I was in operation before curfew. I started back in 2019 by cooking for my family and friends and then for Christmas my sister and I would get together and do a whole range of goodies for the season. However, it was after the pandemic hit and seeing the way our lives were being turned upside down that I decided it was time to take things up a notch, so I started concentrating on ways to make life easier for families who now had to spend all their time indoors and came up a range of wholesome, convenient meals which are ideal for even the kids.
What is it like running your operations in times like these?
- It’s quite challenging as it is difficult to source good produce since you can’t go out and pick for yourself, but I think over the course of time most vendors have also adapted to the changes and are more accommodating so it’s become slightly easier, but still, it’s nothing like doing it yourself. Since I handle deliveries myself it has been quite challenging with the situation changing in the country daily, so now instead of deliveries 3 or 4 times a week I've brought it down to once a week.
How are you ensuring the proper hygiene measures are taken in preparation and delivery?
- Being in the food industry, I've always maintained all levels of hygiene and food safety when preparing my food and since the pandemic, my staff and I strictly followed all the health and safety guidelines given by the PHI. Staff temperatures are checked daily, masks and gloves are used and all work areas are sanitized. Since all deliveries are handled by me I take all precautions and follow the health guidelines to ensure the customers and my safety.
What do you enjoy about baking and operating your own home baking business?
- I absolutely love baking as it's a form of therapy for me and is my stress reliever. Operating my own business has allowed me to be more creative as I am able to experiment and come up with new ideas and push myself daily. I am someone who takes great pride in my cooking and having my customers compliment my food is an indescribable feeling and one of the many perks of operating my own business.
How do you see home bakers going forward post-Covid?
- Covid-19 is definitely a challenge for any business, but I think it has also made the world change and adapt at a much faster rate than we would have thought possible. It has given a chance for small businesses like mine to either start up or come up with innovative ideas to thrive, like my curated dinner menu idea for example, as we are now forced to stay indoors and adapt to a new way of life. Post covid I believe home-baking businesses will still flourish, as people have come to realize the level of potential and options available to them.
What’s next for your brand?
- I’m currently in the process of developing my range of jams, sauces, and marinades which will make cooking easier and bring more excitement to food that is not just wholesome but delicious too.
Any advice to anyone who wants to start their own business?
- It won’t be easy, there will be numerous roadblocks along the way, but rather than let them get you down you should use those moments to challenge yourself to do better and come out stronger. Always remember however difficult it becomes, do not stop doing what you love and believe in.