When a pastry chef goes retro: Interview with Chef Bani

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Chef Bani de Miam pleads for rattan accents, Dutch ovens and an armchair in her kitchen

Chef Bani de Miam pleads for rattan accents, Dutch ovens and an armchair in her kitchen

As the founder of Yummy, the Delhi patisserie known for its Belgian dark chocolate and salted caramel cake, chef Bani Nanda’s Instagram account has its share of baked goodies. But the last two years have also been devoted to creative table decorations (now an expert in setting tables, she does collaborations with brands) and, more recently, kitchen decoration. Nanda, 31, has been collecting tableware for years, is a fan of Le Creuset Dutch ovens and has been saving up for the rounded, vintage-style Smeg fridge she finally brought home a few months ago. Naturally, the galley which housed the above was also the subject of careful thought, from the opening onto the deck, to the design of a bespoke open crockery cabinet, to the choice of hues of paint and Instagrammable tiles. Having designed both commercial and personal kitchens, she shares with us some of her containment discoveries and DIY tips for woodworkers:

As a professional pastry chef, has your workplace influenced your cooking at home?

Having designed three Miam kitchens so far, including two larger and more professional ones, I have learned to integrate functionality and aesthetics. Yummy cooking also taught me to follow a pleasing color palette.

Dish cabinet

Dish cabinet

Displaying your tableware from floor to ceiling wasn’t an overnight decision, was it?

I designed this piece of furniture with my friends who own the Lap & Dado furniture brand. They thought I was crazy when I asked them for an 8×8 foot cabinet. I wanted to keep it open so I could admire my crockery collection. The glass doors ruin the experience! I clean the dish cabinet weekly and keep most of my everyday serving utensils and dishes in another indoor kitchen.

What is often overlooked when designing a “show” kitchen at home?

Kitchens should be super functional, but they can also have character. For example, my kitchen has a desk and an armchair and a few other “living room” items like a rug and lamps. It’s personal and it’s the touch that people seem to ignore.

You discovered Bordallo Pinheiro two years ago. What are your favorite pieces?

I love their serving platters and tureens. They look like a bunch of flora bringing the table to life. I also love their lemon plates and pumpkin collection. The cabbage collection looks a little quirky in photos, but it’s absolutely stunning in real life. I’m saving for some ancient Finnish Arabia [a Finnish ceramics brand].

Rattan wardrobe

Rattan wardrobe

Wood, rattan and pastel colors seem a constant. Could you elaborate on these choices?

I love rattan because it has been part of urban Indian homes for decades and brings a sense of familiarity. Most people go for very modern and minimalist interiors. New trends and new materials are great, but they also put old shapes at risk of being forgotten. Few people make handwoven rattan at home now. As for the pastel touches, I prefer them because they are soothing on the eyes and leave me plenty of room for styling sets.

What is recycled in your kitchen?

All of my wood is recycled from previous cabinets, and I try to use lots of sustainable materials like jute, cane, palm fronds, etc.

Nice cookware

Check out Potuhree, SRINIA ceramics, Meghalayan Age, Green Heirloom for kitchen utensils.

Indigenous cookware, especially earthenware and bronze options, are great alternatives to Le Creuset cookware.

BBQ area

You can always get smaller round barbecues that don’t take up much space. Weber has them. If there’s a space constraint, stick to grilling only half the menu. The other half can consist of dishes prepared in advance.

Quick Tips for Instagram

I Place lots of flowers everywhere

I Do not use black granite as a surface. Black backgrounds aren’t the best for photos. Keep it light!

I Get the refrigerator of your dreams

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