I am completely self-taught; I learn by experimenting and trying out new things, says blogger extraordinaire Shivesh Bhatia
Shivesh Bhatia, a young, self-taught baker has taken social media by storm. Recipient of several social media awards such as Outlook Social Media Award 2016, and CondeNast Traveler India’s Social Media Star of the year 2016, Shivesh’s website is an excellent source of recipes and tips on food styling. Shivesh talks about baking, his food inspirations, food styling, and much more in this freewheeling interview with Vikhroli Cucina
The early days
Shivesh started baking at 16; his interest in baking was sparked when he saw his grandmother and mother baking at home. He started baking with his cousins, but the first few cakes that he made were huge disasters, which went straight to the bin. But Shivesh had caught the baking bug, and he refused to give up. He continued to practise, experiment, read up, and try out different recipes and techniques till he got the hang of it.
Initially, Shivesh started by sharing pictures of his desserts on Instagram, and a lot of people evinced interest. For the longest time, he shared the recipes with his readers individually on email before deciding to have them all in one place – his blog Bake with Shivesh.
As a 16-year old with a baking blog, Shivesh had a lot to offer his readers. His content was original and easy-to-follow, and his pictures are fabulous. Shivesh didn’t try to consciously do something different to stand out among all the food bloggers. His skill with the camera and his amazing style helped him present his desserts beautifully. His youth and his eye for detail propelled his blog to huge popularity with a large and loyal fan following.
Shivesh does not have any formal training in baking or photography. He is completely self-taught; and learns by experimenting and trying out new things, both in baking and photography.
So what is his approach to creating these beautiful desserts? He says a lot of factors are in play; what he feels like eating, what he feels like baking, the produce available in the market and the ingredients in his pantry all play a significant role. Shivesh also studies what the people are searching for, and incorporates his readers’ requests in his creations.
Shivesh conducts both baking and food styling workshops across the country. His workshops are very popular with beginners as well as seasoned bakers. Shivesh uses his workshops to share knowledge with the participants and give them a more hands-on experience of what baking and styling are all about. He enjoys conducting the workshops since they give him an opportunity to share his expertise with his readers and build an offline connection with his online followers.
Food styling advice
Shivesh’s food styling skills are amongst the best in the field, and his legion of Instagram fans will attest to it. He says when styling food for a shot, it is imperative to remember that food is the star of the image. While composing a frame, the first thing that catches the viewer’s eye must be the food. Although the props are essential and help to build a story around the food, Shivesh says that one must always remember that the accessories are the supporting actor and they should not overshadow the star, which is the food.
Bake with Shivesh was published in November 2018, and the book is a treasure trove of tips and tricks to create and style great desserts. Shivesh worked on the book for a year and considers it his most challenging project ever. The book is fantastic, and Shivesh has styled and shot every single picture in the book.
The book has four sections; the first section is about the basics of baking, the equipment and ingredients that one should invest in, baking terms and how to become a better baker in general. The second section has over 50 recipes, and the third section talks about food styling, the composition, the props, and backgrounds. The last section of the book is about food photography where Shivesh talks about the technicalities of shooting, the ISO, the depth of field, shutter speed etc.
Shivesh’s biggest food inspiration is Swedish food blogger Linda of Call me Cupcake. He has been following her blog for a long time and is completely mesmerised by her stunning photos and how she styles and photographs her desserts.
Shivesh’s food journey has taken him to different places across the world where he has had the opportunity to explore different flavours and desserts. His most unforgettable experience was in Copenhagen at the iconic Conditori La Glace. Shivesh considers the Sports Cake in Condotori La Glace as the most exciting dessert that he has ever had, and he came away inspired by the flavours and the techniques that they incorporate in the bakery.
Advice for aspiring food bloggers
Shivesh’s online fame is a result of years of hard work in creating and presenting perfect desserts. His advice to bloggers is to be passionate and not to start blogging with the only objective of becoming famous or rich. Blogging is a time-consuming venture that requires a lot of effort; the initial years will have you investing your time, effort and energy with minimal returns.
In his opinion, one must be fuelled by passion to reach the stage where one can become rich or famous. His advice to aspiring bloggers is to be passionate and be open to sharing knowledge with your readers and offer value to them. Readers need a reason to come back and according to Shivesh, they will only if they are getting fresh, original and informative content.
On his blog, Shivesh shares recipes, tips and tricks, food photography, food styling, equipment, and information on brands. He is open and always ready to share his expertise with his readers, which is a big reason for his immense popularity.
Clearly, Shivesh knows what he is talking about. Vikhroli Cuchina wishes him sweeter successes in the New Year!