5 things you didn’t know about Mumbai’s beloved Theobroma bakery
Here's the story behind how Theobroma came into being
In 2004, Kainaz Messman, baker extraordinaire, started the now-famous patisserie Theobroma with her parents and sister Tina when she was just 24. As a thumb rule with family-run businesses and entrepreneurial businesses, it was not an easy start, but it was an interesting one. She had just quit her job as a chef in kitchen of The Oberoi after a back injury, and her family helped her start what they thought would be a small neighbourhood joint. She documented her journey of how Theobroma started as a small patisserie with four tables in Colaba, Mumbai and grew to be a nationwide success in her debut book, Baking A Dream: The Theobroma Story.
We found some fascinating things about Theobroma in the book:
1) Theobroma was going to be named ‘Kainaz Messman’
The options considered were ‘Tai’ (a combination of Tina and Kainaz), Square Circle and Divine Calories. Tina even pitched the name ‘Kainaz Messman,’ which was vetoed. Instead, the suggestion of Theobroma came from Tina’s work acquaintance Michael Dann, a sugar broker in London. The word was derived from the Greek words ‘theos’ (god) and ‘broma’ (food), which translated to ‘food of the gods’. This was an unusual choice for a name for a dessert shop. No one liked it, few could pronounce it, and nobody knew what it meant, but then that is why it was easy to remember.
2) Desserts were only put on the menu if Kainaz’s best friend okayed them
Dilshad, Kainaz’s best friend, served as a sounding board for recipes for the patisserie menu. Items that didn’t pass Dilnaz’s palette test weren’t put on the original menu.
3) Kainaz designed the interior of the first outlet herself
Kainaz’s dad funded the first Theobroma outlet, and Kainaz decided to take up the task of doing the interior decorating herself to cut corners. Her DIY interior designing idea failed because she chose a rustic look with wooden flooring, and a red brick wall for the place, which left the place looking shabby after a few days. Theobroma’s pastel interiors, which are now very distinctive to the patisserie, came in much later.
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4) Kainaz missed the opening ceremony of the first outlet
Kainaz was busy baking desserts when the first outlet opened in Cusrow Baug, Colaba, in October 2004. The patisserie opened at 2pm on Dussehra, and though there was a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the opening, Kainaz was in the kitchen whipping up a storm while her family celebrated the opening.
5) Theobroma sold out on the first day it opened
The desserts flew off the shelves the very day they started, and Kainaz had to make more to cater to the guests.