Meet The Dessert Diva Who Made it to Entrepreneur India's Women to Watch For Class of 2019

Kainaz scaled her business from a small pastry shop in Mumbai to a retail chain of 35+ outlets

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Kainaz Messman's culinary journey began at home when as a little girl, she helped her mother bake and cook. She says, "Often, when my dad travelled on business, my mother, sister and I had dessert for dinner. We went through recipe books, mum baked for us and we made a meal of it."

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At the age of 16, Kainaz went to France as a part of a youth cultural exchange program. That year, she says, changed her life and determined who would she become. "I lived with a family that owned fruit orchards, vegetable gardens and vineyards. I learned to respect ingredients, cook with passion and keep things simple."

On returning home, Kainaz had decided to become a chef. She secured admission at Institute of Hotel Management (IHM) Mumbai, and further, went to study at the Oberoi Centre of Learning & Development (OCLD) in New Delhi. Post completing the course, she became a pastry chef at the Oberoi in Udaipur but still missed France's quaint little patisseries.

With a little hope and prayer, she decided to open a small pastry shop in Mumbai, completely unaware of the growth that followed. What started with a single shop in 2004 has now become a retail chain of 35+ outlets across five cities in India. The venture raised money via private equity and is currently clocking profits.

Kainaz says, "Theobroma is primarily a dessert destination. It has evolved over the years and has added sandwiches and savouries as per guest requests. The menu at Theobroma reflects influences from my world travels; offering a diverse range of American, Italian and British products centered on my strong Indian and Parsi roots."

(This article appears in the March-April 2019 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here. You can buy our tablet version from To visit our Archives, click here.)