Chocolate truffles, French macarons and chocolate-dipped strawberries are just some of the heavenly tasting delicacies made by Indra Mekdeci and her hardworking team. Her thought of creating connection and bliss between loved ones every time they savour one of her delights has since transformed into a business which has been thriving since its initial opening in 2011.
The Scene, during a sit down with Indra, had the pleasure of sampling the chocolate-dipped strawberries and macarons; they tasted as delectable as they looked.
Indra’s business, Reminiscence has a small staff inclusive of her daughter and two part-time workers. However, peak seasons would find her hiring more persons in order to meet deadlines. She said candidly that Reminiscence was no dream of hers that she had been planning since a little girl but just the inspiration of the American company Edible Arrangements and constant practice that made it what it is today.
Indra was born at Matthews Ridge in the North West District and she spent the first three years of her life there before going to live on the East Coast Demerara with her aunt and grandfather. While she attended the Annandale Secondary School, she entered into the Business stream, she took no culinary courses. All that she knows she learnt from her mother-in-law, who loves to bake, and various books. Every time she learnt something new, she perfected her skill with constant practice.
“When I first started this business, it was with the premise of connecting people. And the name of the business, Reminiscence, stemmed from that because I realized that so many people had left Guyana and they would reminisce of moments they spent with their families and they wanted to reconnect; parents and brothers and sisters with those who were left here. They were overseas and they wanted to send a gift back home. So, the business [began with the idea for persons] to tap into the market where people can send stuff back home. We have a website/web store where people can shop online from anywhere in the world, similarly like you would shop online at Amazon.com. Our website allows you to select an item, put it in your cart using your debit card and state when you want for us to deliver it and we make it and deliver it. After that we started doing catering for people locally because we realized that there was a huge market here for people who wanted our stuff. Well through word and mouth, as you start to deliver gifts to people, inevitably they find out about you and then they tell their friends and then people locally began using us without having to use the website,” Indra explained.
Relating to the saying “It takes ten thousand hours to master anything,” Indra noted that she has put in far more than this. Though she said that her quality is distinctive and is quite up to standard, she still sees herself as in the learning process and she keeps trying various other confectionary assortments.
“I have battled with the idea of going to culinary school over and over again,” she said. “I think when I’m having a hard time learning something on my own, I pound my fists and I say to myself that this would have taken me a shorter time had I gone to culinary school. But, one of the profound statements that my husband made that has a lot of truth behind it is that people go to school and they believe that they will walk out from school being a doctor, being a pastry chef… whatever it is that they studied to be but that’s not what it is. It comes from practicing repeatedly what you learn and having a standard of quality that you keep regardless if it costs you money or not. And I think one of the hallmarks of Reminiscence is that we don’t compromise on quality. I would prefer to throw something away if it’s not up to my standard than to sell it and have a bad name.”
One of the main challenges she has to deal with from time to time is preventing her strawberries from going bad since they are perishable. Another issue was her labour force but since her daughter Dianne took up assisting with customer service, things have been much easier for her. It is not always easy to stop in the middle of making chocolates to reply or tend to customers. Chocolate, Indra noted, is temperamental. To create patterns, it needs to be a required softness but turning away from it too long can result in it hardening and having to starting the heating and the cooling of the process all over again.
On most days the team is working on making chocolate assortments and edible arrangements, even during the interview they kept busy in the kitchen while Dianne took orders and saw that deliveries were made. However there are days when there are no sales and on these days Indra makes macarons and leaves them out in trays to dry so that they are ready for baking and being decorated.
Reminiscence’s peak seasons are usually Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day which is the most packed holiday. During these times Indra could work as long as 36 hours on her feet along with her staff.
Reminiscence is innovative as Indra is always trying to create eye-catching and mouthwatering bites. “One of the things that I’ve learnt is that you may hit something good but innovation is what keeps people interested in you. If you are not innovating, you disappear. People have had what you are making; they know it’s there and will come back for it at some point but need to keep that interest. We change our flavours to match the seasons. With October being Pinktober [for breast cancer awareness] we offered a lot of the pink chocolate-coated strawberries we call glam with pink ribbons designed on them. For this fall season we are offering the pumpkin-spice macarons. Pumpkin is a big thing in fall,” she noted.
Though she has someone who takes care of making cakes, Reminiscence is more about the chocolate delicacies. Along with specialties — edible arrangements, macaron towers, cheese and crackers, dipped fruit — Indra also arranges fresh floral centrepieces and bouquets.
Indra can be contacted via Facebook and Instagram at Reminiscence.gy or by calling/messaging 227-6387/ 664-3557 or WhatsApp 629-9093.