Deeba Rajpal, Owner of Passionate About Baking

Deeba has been ‘bitten by the food blog’ bug as she puts it. From economics, airlines and now food, she has found her passion and she is excited by it everyday. Find out how Deeba combines food, photography and inspiration from her vibrant, chaotic and magical culture, India.
What’s your story?
Honours in Economics to a very enjoyable stint with the airlines, I eventually found myself the most fulfilled when I discovered food blogging several years ago in 2007. A self taught baker driven by passion, happy in my own space, inspired by the huge pool of creativity, I got bitten by the ‘food blog meets photography’ bug. The result? An opportunity to use my ever growing collection of vintage rustic food props. The combination of food and vintage touched my soul and excited me endlessly. As time passed, I developed my own personal style, an expression that is often a rustic, moody frame that plays with food, props and shadows. Now I style food, shoot some, write recipes, inspire and get inspired!
What excites you most about your industry?
The food industry is understandably a dynamic one. Where else can you find such a passionately captive audience? Add to it the digital angle, and its images that eyes feed on. ‘Foodgawker’ is a word that captures the essence beautifully!!  It is an ideal playground for creativity, and has a place for everyone. That which allows me room to grow, and that one isn’t confined by boundaries of any sort is my kind of space.  The food industry is trend setting, yet allows you to set trends.  It hosts some of the finest creative talent in the world. How much better can life get!
What’s your connection to Asia?
India. That’s home. Best place ever. There’s a method to the madness here, and I don’t believe I could survive elsewhere. The colours, the tradition, the chaos, the cuisine, the history, the culture of old cities, the hidden gems all spell magic for me.
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Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Mumbai. A city with a heart. As Gregory David Roberts said in Shantaram , “More dreams are realised and extinguished in Bombay than any other place in India.” It’s a hypnotic city. Inspiring folk, thoroughly professional, helpful to the core and so large hearted! Even if the traffic doesn’t flow, even if the rain doesn’t stop, so what if the city is flooded, nothing dampens the spirit of Mumbai {or Bombay as I like to call it}.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Believe in yourself. You are the best!” I’ve had ‘believe’ tattooed on my wrist and that’s a constant source of inspiration. I am not the best but it certainly makes me feel good, motivating me to enjoy what I do.
Who inspires you?
Chefs who create from the heart, have a conscience, work from farm to table, and are great human beings. Michelin Star Chef Vikas Khanna for one because I have been fortunate enough to work with him. He wears his heart on his sleeve and is a wonderful human being. Others who inspire me are chefs like Ottolenghi and Donna Hay.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
That I just got lucky! I was invited for a ten day sponsored Grand Tour of Switzerland by a leading lifestyle TV channel in India. 10 days in Switzerland!! Me? YES!!
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Be more patient, listen more, react less, improve on my organisational skills, learn to be technically savvy too!
Pick up a camera from day one, explore every corner of India.
How do you unwind?
Explore the streets of the old city, bake, shoot nature, play with the dog, surf the net {Pinterest, Instagram, Tumbler}, become a couch potato with a TALL glass of cold coffee, watch cricket on telly with the better half etc, talk food with my friends!
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Goa. Slow paced if you like, beautiful beaches, scenic drives, great food and folk, not too expensive. There’s something for everyone. The kids love it there.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration” by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace
Shameless plug for your business:
{this is something very unlike me to do}
I will add character and style to your food and frame. If you need food work done, give it to someone who loves what they do! Give it to me!
How can people connect with you?
Twitter handle?

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia.  He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries.  He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence.  A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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