Kainaz Messman, the founder of the popular ‘Theobroma’ chain of cafés, has authored the book, ‘Baking a Dream’, published by HarperCollins. The book includes a thorough account of how she set up Theobroma; and the interesting journey comprising her travels, family, friends, mistakes and ramifications, all leading to her current standing. What started out as a small, Parsi family-run bakery and cafe in 2004, is today a national empire with 50 outlets, employing 1,000 employees across Mumbai, Delhi and Pune, selling over 200 products to an ever increasing, 500,000 plus, customer base.
Written in collaboration with Kainaz’s sister, Tina Messman Wykes, ‘Baking a Dream’ encapsulates the ins and outs of running a large, successful business, written in a friendly, candid style, recounting all the events that established Theobroma into the popular household name it is today. On one such occasion, Kainaz shares a story about a customer who helped clean and run the café during a tough day. On another, she recalls a French couple she met at the café, who went on to become close friends, teaching her much about pastry-making! Kainaz writes in simple terms what it takes to achieve lofty milestones, by sharing sincerely her own mistakes, preferences and guidelines which need to be adhered to.
Born in Mumbai to a typical Parsi family where food forms the primal bonding activity, Kainaz realised her love for food early on and went on to become a professional chef. She credits her mother, Kamal, as her primary inspiration for baking. In fact, in the chapter, ‘Mumbai’s Brownie Queen’, Kainaz writes about Theobroma’s star product – the dense chocolate brownie – sharing how the brownie, baked by her mother for a pregnant friend, became extremely popular and was supplied to restaurants and outlets even outside Mumbai. ‘Baking a Dream’ shares numerous stories, commentaries on various food cultures and other experiences, placed alongside recipes which have been an integral part of the Theobroma journey.
In 2017, Kainaz landed an investment of USD 20 million from a private equity firm which will enable Theobroma’s expansion to aimed at doubling its presence, with a hundred new outlets, across other Indian cities, over the next four-five years.