The talented Thai-Indian sisters give us a taste of their lives as budding entrepreneurs.
By Ashima Sethi
With the rise of social media, you no longer need a storefront to make your dreams a reality. This is true for 22-year old Saranya (Sejal) and 21-year old Chariya (Shreya) Ahuja, the talented Thai-Indian sisters behind up-and-coming bakeshop, Whisked Away, which specialises in customisable sweet and savoury goodies that are fit for all palates, whether you’re trying to cut back on sugar, prefer nut-free, or are sticking to a vegan diet. They give Masala the scoop into what it’s like to have their cake and sell it too!
Tell us a little bit about yourselves.
Shreya: Sejal and I both attended St. Andrews International School. When I graduated, I enrolled at Parsons School of Design and I studied at their campus in Paris for two years. I’ve since returned to Bangkok due to COVID-19 and I plan to complete my education here.
Sejal: I’m pursuing a Bachelor’s in early childhood education at the University of Sydney, Australia. I’ll actually be done with my studies in a few weeks, but I decided to return to Bangkok for an internship due to the pandemic.
Have you both always had a passion for food?
Sejal: I’ve loved baking since I was seven, when I began trying out all these diﬀerent recipes two to three times a week. When I was 13, I started an Instagram for all my baked goods.
Shreya: I used to dread cooking at university and would often just buy out, which ended up giving me the opportunity to visit boulangeries and stores that belonged to celebrated chefs like Cedric Grolet. I feel like I went to Paris for fashion but fell in love with the pastries.
How did the idea of starting Whisked Away come around?
Shreya: We were in lockdown watching Netﬂix all day, so our mum was like: “why don’t you girls do something!” Since Sejal makes really good orange cake, our mum suggested we start selling it online. I had experience using software like Adobe Illustrator at university, so I made the logo and graphics and we started the Instagram page.
Sejal: We chose ‘Whisked Away’ as a name because it merged the symbol of the whisk with the idea of ‘take away.’ The word ‘whisk’ is also versatile. We do sweet and savoury, so we didn’t want a name with ‘cake’ or anything speciﬁc because we have such a wide-range of goods.
What makes Whisked Away unique?
Shreya: Sejal has a sweet tooth but I don’t. Because of this, we’ve always found a balance in what we make. This has led to us giving our customers the freedom of telling us what they prefer. Whether it’s less sugar, Stevia as a substitute for diabetics, gluten-free, nut-free or dairy-free.
Sejal: Our goods are customisable. For a cake base, we can use Oreos for something more indulgent or dates, oats or walnuts for a healthier alternative. We grew up around people who had all kinds of dietary restrictions, like our mum who is vegetarian, so it comes naturally to us to make goods everyone can eat.
How do you come up with your recipes?
Shreya: We read and experiment a lot and continuously improve our approaches. For example, for our Monkey loaf, we used to make it using vegan cheese we bought at the grocery store but we found it was far too salty. This led to us creating our own vegan cheese that our customers love, both in the Monkey loaf and on its own.
Sejal: Our cheeses are unique because most vegan cheeses are made from nuts but we make ours out of oat milk. They’re great for people who have allergies. They’re also sold as blocks so you can grate them, melt them, even put them on pizza. They’re very versatile and come in four ﬂavours.
Shreya: We also bring a lot of diﬀerent global ﬂavours into our creations. It didn’t take us long to realise that we drew a lot of inspiration from bakeries we visited abroad.
Sejal: A popular fusion creation is our Masala chai scones. This was what really got the attention of the Thai-Indian community.
What are some of your most recommended dishes?
Sejal: Our vegan Tiramisu and our Baked almond fudge are really good.
Shreya: I really enjoy our Biscotti because I love having it with coﬀee or tea. Our Monkey loaf is super popular; it’s always the ﬁrst thing that sells out.
Thailand’s plant-based movement is really gaining traction. What are your thoughts on this?
Shreya: We’re really happy about the revolution that’s taking place as plant-based cuisine is already very prominent abroad, even in Paris.
Sejal: In Australia, every restaurant had to have at least one vegan dish. Because we were both exposed to the movement, when we started baking, we knew we wanted to include vegan options.
Shreya: I also think more people are shopping local and are being more environmentally conscious. Personally, we’re trying to eat more plant-based food because that’s where the future is heading. Just having two plant-based meals out of three per day can make a diﬀerence.
This year has also seen the rise of many marketplaces. Where have you exhibited?
Shreya: The Green Market at EmQuartier and Root the Future, who personally invited us after seeing our vegan cheeses on Instagram. At that point, we hadn’t sold them as blocks yet so we asked them if we could launch our cheeses at their event and they were really happy about it. Our next event is the Xmas Holly Jolly Celebration at EmQuartier on the 5th and 6th of December.
What are your plans for the future?
Sejal: I think a commercial kitchen is our next step if we want to make bulk orders, but we haven’t set our minds on anything just yet because we want to see how the business will grow.
Shreya: We have a lot of ideas. Back in Paris, one thing that really blew my mind was a delivery service where you get your bread and pastries fresh every morning. I’d always order the night before and they’d just hang it on the door. It’s super convenient. Sadly there’s a lot of traﬃc in Bangkok but I’m sure there’s a way to adapt the idea for a city like this.
To browse Whisked Away’s many delights visit them on Instagram and Facebook: @whiskedawaybkk
Tel: 089 918 1881 or 089 918 8118