The joy that comes from munching a supremely baked caked cannot be underestimated.
In every decent restaurant, cake is almost always an ubiquitous site; strategically positioned in a manner designed to arouse cake lovers’ sensory cues even before they sermon the steward – to place that order.
But believe it, finding ‘genuine cake’ is a tricky affair – mostly because, to cut corners, the people assigned to bake them have in a way twisted the standard baking practices recommended in the ‘baking constitution’.
For instance, the ideal ratio for baking a cake is usually 1:1:1 which is to mean, One Kilogram of flour for One Kilogram of Margarine for Twenty eggs. However, in most bakers outlets, you will find the standard ratio has been tampered with in order to sell more through economies of scale and this overall interferes with the quality of the real thing – so says Chef Abdul Shafiq Ali Zaid, a former star chef at Sarova Afrique Hotel and the current research and development lead at Upfield Foods Kenya – the makers of Blue Band Margarine.
Chef Shafiq, a quality-freak who describes himself as a gentleman committed to proper hospitality and gastronomical practices, emphasizes that bakers need to consistently standardize their recipes – In addition to sourcing for high-quality ingredients if they are serious about producing real quality stuff.
He said that outlets that continue to operate with inconsistent and (or) sub-standard ingredients are simply throwing caution to the wind and that customers will eventually notice the devil in the details of their servings; – from there, it won’t be long before they (customers) bang the door behind them, never to return.
Maudhui House has learned that before joining Upfield Foods, where he employs his Master Chef skills to enhance food-service products that in turn produce flourishing bakeries anywhere – Chef Shafiq worked at his Mum’s restaurant in Nairobi’s Ayany estate where his obsession with quality in the Kitchen transformed it from a 5-Seater kibanda to and 80-seater, two-storey restaurant boasting annual profit-revenues in upwards of Ksh 2 Million after taxes.
“At Upfield, I also spearhead technical demonstrations to support innovation and I also design recipes for other Chefs who leverage our products in their Kitchens,” Chef Shafiq says.
Although there are some universally appealing and accepted ingredients, Chef Shafiq says that specific preferences may vary from Chef to Chef. One key ingredient that is however standard in most – if not all the recipes he crafts, is Blue Band Master, a one of kind Margarine Variant that is specifically designed for commercial baking.
And, even for his own baking, Chef Shafiq has honed the art of treating Blue Band Master with respect, in order to realize its full magic in the bakery.
“It has a rich buttery flavor and it is the only baking margarine in the Kenyan market that doesn’t have any allergens whatsoever – it’s purely plant-based margarine which means you can use it even for vegan recipes,” he says.
The Chef says that Blue Band Master when used – produces the finest bakes because it makes the sugar and other ingredients taste better and come together better.
“Unlike butter that has more saturated fats, the oils that go into making this margarine are mostly locally sourced and are all plant-based – they are not hydrogenated and therefore have no cholesterol, it’s actually a healthier option”. Chef Shafiq told this writer.
Shafiq who also has future plans of opening his own bakery in his home town of Kisumu says that outlets that are conscious about the health of their customers need to take time to understand ingredients that go into their consumables.
Upfield has packaged the Blue Band Master in 10 and 5 Kilogram packs for commercial use and another 1-kilogram pack for home bakers ‘who love experimenting things on their own’ as Chef Shafiq phrases it.
Five months into his new Job at Upfield, Chef Shafiq says his career is thriving and together with some of his close colleagues, he has pioneered a social media page dubbed Flavor Moja to share Kenyan food stories, new ideas, and killer recipes.