The inspiration behind Happiness Baked by Thea is Chef Thea Ghandy’s philosophy towards food: take ordinary ingredients and transform them into exquisite pleasures. As an accomplished five-star chef, Thea brings her approach of artisanal cooking – a devotion to detail and reverence for the freshest ingredients – to handcrafting pastries.
Thea’s interest in food started at an early age because food has always remained an important feature of her mother’s household and her grandmother’s. Family recollections include memories of the most delicious food being served with much care and ceremony at the dining table. In one of these memories, a twelve-year-old Thea was helping her mother make a croquembouche – a French dessert made of choux pastry – for her father’s birthday celebration. Her appreciation for food and trying new ingredients continued throughout college. Though Thea was encouraged to consider business or medical school after college, she pursued her passion for food by leaving India to attend culinary school in Vancouver, Canada.
After graduating at the top of her class, Thea returned to India and obtained employment as a chef at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, one of India’s premier five-star hotels in Mumbai. She was quickly recognized for her talent and became one of the hotel’s sous chefs. In spite of her success as a gifted sous chef, Thea desired a change, prompting her to move to Bangalore where she opened her own catering and restaurant consulting company. “For the next few years, I created specialty items for special events such as weddings and art exhibitions and designed food menus for restaurants.”
In 2008, Thea returned to Canada and pursued an opportunity to work as a pastry chef at Cupcakes by Heather and Lori, the most well-known cupcake bakery in the Vancouver area. The experience enabled Thea to focus her talent on the creation of cakes and cupcakes. “I turned to my alma mater, Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, to perfect my pastry decorating techniques and obtained a certificate in decorating wedding cakes. For the next couple of years, I baked and decorated a variety of cakes and cupcakes.” Soon thereafter, Thea met her future husband who lives in Massachusetts and moved to the area.
Since then, Thea has been encouraged by her husband and others who have sampled her desserts to open her own pastry business. Chef Thea is excited to share her exquisite desserts with food lovers in the area. The menu offers classic and traditional favorites as well as unique pairings, which showcases Chef Thea’s talent in drawing upon her Indian heritage by using flavors such as cardamom and cinnamon that shaped the spice trade from ancient times.
“The cupcakes were divine!! I really hope you go into business soon, because cupcakes this good have to be shared. They are simply the best I’ve ever had.”
— Nana Amos, Program Manager
UNESCO Chair and Institute of Comparative Human Rights
University of Connecticut
“The cupcakes are phenomenal!! Everyone here who has tried them this afternoon has raved about them.”
— Satisfied Customer
“We would like to thank you and your staff / team so much for the wonderful job you did in making our daughter’s graduation cake and assorted desserts. We received so many compliments and we send them all your way. The dessert station looked spectacular and had the WOW factor. It met any and every expectation we had and more. Dessert is my favorite part of the meal. We look forward to celebrating many more events with Happiness Baked By Thea.”
— Trey & Beth Shropshire, Highfields Golf & Country Club and Pleasant Valley Country Club