From Guatemala to Mysuru A Baker’s Journey
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From Guatemala to Mysuru A Baker’s Journey

February 16, 2024

By R. Eshwari

Raquel loves yoga, baking and Mysuru. Armed with a degree in Physiology and Biomedical Science, she is the Founder of Local Friendly Bakery,  Vontikoppal. She firmly believes that attention to detail and creativity blossom with practice, a philosophy rooted in her upbringing.

“I’ve been enveloped in the aroma of freshly baked goods for as long as I can recall,” she reminisces. Her mother, a dedicated baker, would craft delectable treats every Friday for no fewer than 14 families.

The tradition of baking runs deep in Raquel’s family, a heritage she proudly upholds. Fleeing Egypt due to escalating anti-Semitism, her family found refuge in Guatemala in Central America. Amidst upheaval, food became their anchor, preserving cherished cultural practices.

Following her academic pursuits, Raquel embarked on a brief hiatus, journeying to explore her passions. Intent on mastering both yoga and pastry craft, she visited Mysuru. However, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted her plans, leaving her stranded and unable to indulge in her beloved pastime of baking.

“During that stagnant period, I longed for the comfort of a freshly baked croissant,” she says. Determined to recreate the experience, Raquel briefly joined SAPA, a popular restaurant in Gokulam, to hone her croissant-making skills. Nearly two years later, Raquel turned her passion into a full-time profession, emerging as a skilled baker renowned for crafting irresistible delights that captivate her clientele.

Many of the recipes featured in the bakery have been cherished heirlooms passed down through generations. The recipe book, a treasured keepsake, holds a collection of their most beloved baked treats. Within its pages lie the secrets to her grandma’s renowned taco seasoning, her mother’s delectable banana bread, as well as recipes for bagels, blackberry cake and more.

Raquel’s grandmother found refuge as a refugee in France for a year, while her father’s family resided in Iran until the revolution in 1979 forced their displacement. As a result of these rich cultural influences, the bakery offers a unique menu that tantalises flavours from both Egyptian and Parsi cuisine.

Operating on a weekly schedule, the bakery promises a delightful surprise with each visit, as Raquel continuously introduces new and exciting creations. “I like to keep things fresh and interesting,” she says, underscoring the bakery’s commitment to an ever-evolving menu.

“For a baker, mastering the art of recipe interpretation and execution is paramount. It’s where everything begins.

I advise aspiring bakers to immerse themselves in multiple recipes for the same item to refine their skills,” she recommends.

The bakery’s weekly menu changes not only to embrace seasonal ingredients but also to reflect the weather and special occasions, such as featuring chocolates during Valentine’s week.

Initially baking solely for personal enjoyment, Raquel has since embraced the philosophy of turning passion into a profession. “Find something you’re passionate about, something you’d do for free, and make it your career,” she advises.

Despite the demanding nature of her profession, Raquel has discovered a new-found enjoyment in baking on a larger scale. While acknowledging the long hours and occasional challenges, she remains dedicated, often spending up to 20 hours a day at the bakery. She attributes much of her success to her supportive staff, who share her enthusiasm and dedication.

A challenging journey

As a woman and a foreigner, establishing a bakery in Mysuru presented its challenges. Raquel’s journey was marked by trial and error, with her partner, proficient in Kannada and engineering, providing invaluable assistance in navigating bureaucratic hurdles and setting up operations. Raquel believes that entrepreneurs must learn the local language.

Although she misses her family, Mysuru has provided Raquel with a sense of belonging, offering a warm climate reminiscent of Guatemala. “Mysuru feels like home, with its tropical flora and friendly people, despite the architectural differences,” she says.

Raquel’s advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs is simple: Pursue what you love. She acknowledges the sacrifices that come with entrepreneurship but encourages perseverance, stressing the importance of continuous learning and adaptation to stay ahead in the ever-evolving business landscape.


Mysuru’s favorite and largest circulated English evening daily has kept the citizens of Mysuru informed and entertained since 1978. Over the past 45 years, Star of Mysore has been the newspaper that Mysureans reach for every evening to know about the happenings in Mysuru city. The newspaper has feature rich articles and dedicated pages targeted at readers across the demographic spectrum of Mysuru city. With a readership of over 2,50,000 Star of Mysore has been the best connection between it’s readers and their leaders; between advertisers and customers; between Mysuru and Mysureans.


Academy News Papers Private Limited, Publishers, Star of Mysore & Mysuru Mithra, 15-C, Industrial ‘A’ Layout, Bannimantap, Mysuru-570015. Phone no. – 0821 249 6520

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