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Meet Deeba Rajpal - The Rabid Baker

Meet Deeba Rajpal - The Rabid Baker

Known for her baking blog “Passionate about baking” and her mantra of “Doing food from scratch”, Deeba is a passionate baker armed with exceptional food photography and food styling skills making her “The Rabid Baker”. The word “Rabid” exactly describes her passion and obsession with baking. She also writes a blog for Times of India, which goes by the same name. 

She calls herself a non-conformist and for whom visual appeal holds as much significance as healthy and delectable food. Any idea that grabs her fancy becomes a springboard for creativity. Plattershare finds out about her journey, interests and tips for the budding food photographer:

  • How and when did you know that Food/Baking was your calling?

I think baking was an interest right through school. With long summer holidays ahead, all we did as kids was pour over the one or two cookbooks we had, and attempt to cook or bake. Being in the armed forces meant substituting almost everything gourmet with very basic ingredients.

The interest was revived after I stopped working some 20 years ago, and food and photography remains a passion, like a therapeutic pursuit.

Meet Deeba Rajpal - The Rabid Baker
  • If a person does not have a professional Camera, can you give some tips on how one can take good food photos?

I have always maintained that it is the eye that sees and frames, not the camera. You don't need a professional camera or lens to take fab images. I have seen stunning images shot by cell phones. Try and use whatever you have on hand to begin with. Look around home, and you will find a wealth of props!

Meet Deeba Rajpal - The Rabid Baker

I am conducting a limited seats food styling workshop with Darter later in October this year. It's the second one this year and has been quite popular. It's at a beautiful new restaurant 'Lavaash by Saby'

Meet Deeba Rajpal - The Rabid Baker

A few points to keep in mind for food styling:

  • Never use a flash with food
  • Try and build a story; let the food talk
  • Work around a colour theme if possible. The colours in your frame should complement the others
  • As far as possible use a good source of light. Natural light makes food look best
  • Make sure the food is the hero and the focus.
  • Keep the frame simple. Don't overprop
  • Use neutral colours in crockery so the end result looks pleasing, not busy

Try and garnish the dish with an ingredient from the list to add either a pop of colour {eg red chili, fresh herbs}, or an element of interest {chocolate curls, flakes, maybe sliced fruit}

  • How do you get ideas/inspiration for new recipes?

Colours, textures, flavours, inspiration can come in many ways. New seasons are inspiring because they hold the promise of local fresh produce. Maybe something I read, often an old recipe being revisited in a new avatar, a reader request, a social media thread, an instagram image, or then just a request from friends or family!

Meet Deeba Rajpal - The Rabid Baker
  • Your blog says “Doing food from scratch”, Can you please explain that and why you think it is important?

Doing food from scratch refers to using fresh seasonal produce and locally available ingredients in an attempt to reduce my carbon footprint, cutting down on additives and preservatives. I believe in a 'locavore' concept like a farm to table existence.

For eg I make my own white butter and ghee on a weekly basis, make my own mascarpone, quark, ricotta etc. I will only buy apples from Kinnaur or Kashmir, and not imported Washington apples. This also helps support our local food community. I just find the influx and popularity of imported food items a little overwhelming. Maybe it's time we made better choices?

Meet Deeba Rajpal - The Rabid Baker
  • Which is your favorite food destination/holiday?

I don't have a favourite food destination, but I really enjoy street food so it's often Old Delhi that I head for.

Meet Deeba Rajpal - The Rabid Baker

Goa, Lucknow, Srinagar, Jaipur, I love them all, especially parts of the old city.

One of my favourite holiday destinations is Sydney Down Under. That said, I'm just back from a Swiss Tourism sponsored trip to Switzerland. If I had the money, that would easily be where I would head often. Stunningly scenic, great cheese, chocolate, wine and food, fabulous people and so much heritage.

Meet Deeba Rajpal - The Rabid Baker
  • Tell us about your experience of restoring and documenting culinary props from Chandni Chowk? And How was your experience working with Vikas Khanna?

I have been collecting kitchen collectibles for a decade now and have always found it fascinating. I discovered some in Chandni Chowk a few years ago, and that has now become a passion bordering an obsession.

I have a huge collection and use parts of it often in my frames. Just makes me feel very happy to know that I have been able to save a piece of history from being melted into a lump of copper!

Meet Deeba Rajpal - The Rabid Baker

Working with Vikas Khanna has been a phenomenal experience, and I thank The Fit Foodie team at Saffola Oats {Marico} for making it happen. The chef is so humble and down to earth that it surprises you. Thoroughly professional, brilliant with food and people, I feel honoured to be able to work with him.

Meet Deeba Rajpal - The Rabid Baker

What are you baking right now? wink 

I have immersed myself in chocolate these days, my most favourite way to experiment and unwind.

Yesterday in the oven was a flourless gluten free bittersweet chocolate cake with salted butter caramel. The cake tastes even better the next day. The recipe will be up on the blog soon. When strawberries are in season, balsamic roasted strawberries are what I like to serve with a cake like this.

Meet Deeba Rajpal - The Rabid Baker

Thank you so much for having me over. I hope I have inspired you to pick up your camera and begin shooting!

Find me here

Meet Deeba Rajpal - The Rabid Baker
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Thank you for the photography tips deeba