Shania Fernandes, the young owner of Sanofé speaks about her experience on the zeal and diligence it takes to run the restobar and cafe
Shania Fernandes is a passionate 24-year-old self-taught baker. A graduate in Hospitality, Travel and Tourism, she runs the popular restobar and café, Sanofé, located at Alto Santa Cruz. She was barely 17 when she started baking, which she pursued for the sake of using her brand-new in-built oven. To keep the equipment running, she eventually developed a liking towards baking. Every extra piece of cake that went into her school tiffin, received a ton of praise which only encouraged her further to start her own brand.
The name originates from an amalgamation of initials of her respective family members. The ‘S’ comes from the owner’s as well as her sister’s name, Swizel. The ‘an’ is derived from her mother Anita, while the ‘o’ is from Paulo, her father and since they are the Fernandes’ family, thus the name Sanofé. The restobar and café is mainly known for its desserts as that is how she embarked on her confectionery venture. She began with all things sweet. Their best-sellers include éclairs, cheesecakes, and chocolate pastries. In addition, they make French macarons which are also a hit!
Besides desserts, customers can also opt to relish their juicy burgers and steaks. Her transition from a home bakery to a full-fledged restaurant and café was tough. She says that baking from home is definitely easier and simpler, since she did it by herself.
Currently, Shania has a team of 12 running the establishment and a helping hand to assist her with the baked goods. However, she explains that this switch has helped her in many ways. It added to her responsibilities and has taught her so much about the service sector. Moreover, it has made her more social which enabled her to develop strong communication skills as a result of meeting and interacting with different types of people who visit the café. “Every day is a new challenge and learning experience,” she states.
For Shania, a typical day in her life as the owner starts off with her bakery unit. She spends the morning preparing all the desserts that will be ready for sale. During lunch, she immerses herself the kitchen and restaurant to ensure that the food service is being carried out smoothly, till 3 in the afternoon. She returns at 6 in the evening, managing the entire unit again until 11p.m. On some days, although she spends over 12 hours at the outlet, she enjoys every minute of it. She says, “The initial years seem to be tough, but the fruits will grow eventually. Nothing comes easy.”
On the customer’s request, she tries out new and different types of desserts. Once she understands what the market needs, Shania experiments with various recipes and puts them up for a taste test. The process does not take more than two days, as once she begins crafting one dessert, it does not stop in the next 48 hours, until she gets it right.
A peek at the behind the scenes of the restobar and café is generally an extremely hot environment! She elaborates, “It is nothing short of sweat and
hard work at play, including a lot of heat to make a great meal! From hot breads baked in the oven, chicken tandoori out of the grill to high flames in order to attain that great burnt garlic flavour, the amount of dedication and commitment involved in the kitchen is immeasurable during busy hours. Not to forget, the kitchen has no chairs to take a seat for a pause either.” The preparation of a delicious dish involves a great amount of love, passion, and hard work.
Positive feedback from customers and encouraging Google reviews keeps the team at Sanofé going. “We love hearing, ‘We recommended you to a friend.’ Word of mouth has worked wonders for us in the last 2 years”, she explains. At the moment, her current focus is entirely on the outlet at Alto Santa Cruz.
In the future, she plans on setting another establishment, but as of now her main goal is to retain consistency and quality at one location for as long as she runs it.