When I sat to pen down the wonderful interview some beautiful words once I read started to resonate in my ears. " A strong woman is one who feels deeply and loves fiercely.Her tears flow just as abundantly as her laughter. A strong woman is both soft and powerful. A strong woman in her essence is a gift to the world." In today's interview we are going to have a conversation with a woman who is clothed in strength and dignity. This mile long dimple girl plays beautifully with her camera motivating many souls to awake little chef in them. She plays with her props and food. If you are a foodie then her blog is a little piece of heaven. Her pictures are a treat to the eyes while her words create a little sunshine in us . Her blog is colorful and flavorful . This banker by day and blogger by night leaves viewers with wonderful and nostalgic food as souvenirs when you leave her blog. Making others to get back to her blog many a times. Let's chat with Swayampurna Mishra Singh of La petit Chef over a nice coffee break in your tiring day ...
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What is a day like in Swayam's life?
A day in Swayam's life.. pretty boring actually. I start my mornings with a cup of warm water with lemon, apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper. That is quickly followed by two cups of extra strong coffee. Usual mom routine, making three different breakfasts and packing lunch box for the school and work is done by . After that I sit down for some me time. I usually read the newspaper, watch news, chat with the hubby and water my garden before squeezing in 15 mins of high intensity running. Needless to say that is followed by a breakfast fit for the king or queen in this case. Then comes work time. I start working by , starting with emails and catching up on blog related work. The rest of the day is spent in the kitchen, cooking up a storm! Late afternoons are reserved for photography which is when my home gets the best light. Evenings are exclusively for D (my 5 year old daughter) and after dinner i usually chill with my husband watching something on Netflix, We were hooked to Marcella and Narcos, and are currently obsessed with Bloodline :P Once everyone sleeps off, I go to my study and write a blog post at . When the house is quiet, is when my brain finally works and I love the peace and solitude that I finally get at the end of the day. As I said, pretty boring normal life. :)
Hearty congratulations on being published in leading dailies. What is it to be on front page ?
Oh its always a surprise!! I feel extremely humbled and grateful at every single recognition I get, whether it be from the front page, national dailies or amazingly generous bloggers like yourself. It makes me feel even more determined to do better. The best feeling was when my friends started messaging me saying they are reading my article while having their morning chai/coffee saying they love it! Even more gratifying is when friends and strangers even say they don't need to look for my logo to know a picture is mine, or actually come up to me in the most random places and ask if i am "S", the blogger? haha!!
That just means I finally have my own style and I feel super grateful for that. At the end of the day I would just like my work to speak for itself.
Each of your artwork or so called posts are a piece of canvas . So, how do you plan them. (how do you choose a recipe, make, click and post)
A lot of what I make is decided by my family ; my daughter and husband. You won't see me doing things just coz they are trendy. We don't do that. I blog pretty much just from my heart. So anything that we are craving is cooked for lunch/dinner, and then the thought of shooting it comes. If I find something inspirational (as I often do on Instagram ), I plan ahead, make sure i have the ingredients or the local substitutes and then make it. Usually though its simple local food that's made keeping the weather in mind, healthy stuff without bordering on diet, the occasional sweet indulgence everything is made depending on my mood that day.
How i make the recipe - well cooking is the easiest part. Thankfully I am a pretty instinctive cook. I don't measure ingredients or follow a recipe for most savory dishes. My palate and sense help me out. I have been making chicken curries, chili chicken, paneer curries, roti etc since I was 11. So, cooking is second nature to me. Baking though is a science that I am just starting to learn. and loving it! I usually photograph the food as soon as I make it. The morning hours ofare my best light zones. And as I mentioned I blog after .
As, a master in food styling. Can you suggest few tips?
Styling is extremely personal. Some people like overly garnished plates like vegetables and fruits cut like flowers etc like you might in restaurants or weddings. Some don't care about styling as long as the food tastes good. Some are very minimal. Me?? I think I am a little messy as a stylist. In my real life I have borderline OCD and cant have anything out of place. I think I just let myself go when I style without worrying about neatness. You will see a lot of natural garnish in terms of fresh herbs, flowers or nuts and seeds in my pictures and romantic elements like notes and old book pages. But I will never resort to gimmicky styling. If an ingredient is on the dish, it must have a value or contribute to the end dish in some way.
Tips for styling:
1. Always use contrasting colors for garnish.
2. Garnish only at the end to keep it extra fresh.
3. A simple tadka adds volumes of depth to a dish
4. Don't copy someone's styling just coz she/he makes it look so good. Find your own style that comes naturally to you. Trust me, you will.
5. Start with a basic 3 layer rule. Don't over complicate the image or add too many props unless you are sure how to handle too many things. Believe me simple works wonders at times.
What are top 5 items in your bucket list ?
If you were given a chance to work with one of your favorite chef. What would you learn?
My favorite chef without a doubt is Maroc Pierre White. I know people obsess over Heston Blumenthal, but his cooking is just not my style. I prefer the "getting back to roots" cooking style that Marco emanates. I would learn the art of making perfect pasta from scratch!!
Apart from blogging What interests you the most?
Well I have trained in Odissi for over 17 years, so needless to say dance is a huge passion. Apart from that, reading. You can live me alone with a good book and a tasty snack for hours alone and I wouldn't care!! Total homebody who loves being at her home and just chilling.
You have beautiful stories that surrounds your food. What was that one fond memory which interested you to cooking?
One fond memory??? God!! This the toughest of all questions. I don't post just recipes or talk about food. When I say Lapetitchef - Dinner. Stories. Photography, I mean it! All are my favorite stories coz all of them are from the extremely blessed childhood I had, thanks to my parents and siblings! My dad has always been a foodie and my mum has always cooked us 6-7 dish meal lunches, snacks, breakfasts, dinners - everything from scratch, everything suited to each of our needs. Believe me, we are three siblings and all of us had a different demand!! I have seen her do all this happily while juggling her work as a professor in English, a Major in NCC, Classical music and our lives!! Every moment spent with them is my favorite story and an inspiration for me. My blog is my ultimate testament to the love of the most wonderful parents ever.
Now some Quick q's:
One strangest thing that you ever ate?
Octopus is Thailand
One food which is your couch companion?
One nostalgic food you wish you can eat today?
Dalma - a simple dal dish originating from Orissa.Believe me it puts the D in Dal and the D in Delicious!!
One food you can eat forever?
Dark fudgey chocolate brownies.
Few things we can find in your refrigerator?
haha..everything a foodie dreams of!! I have a double door huge refrigerator and I still run short of space!! :P
Thank you so much Swayam for your time and sharing some wonderful tips.
I can assure everyone had some wonderful time reading the interview . So, catch you next week with another interesting blogger journey.