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Alumni Voices: A recipe for success...

Parth Gupta (Business Management, 2021) swapped diamond carats for the world of vegan and vegetarian food. He now runs a successful chain of artisan bakeries and cafes in Delhi, and he has ambitious expansion plans for the rest of India…

Parth Gupta smiles warmly in his chef whites. He is standing on a bustling street.

‘I never thought of a culinary career,’ reveals Parth when we catch up him at his restaurant, Bloom, in New Delhi, India. ‘My family had a jewellery business. I always thought I’d work in that and help expand it. It was one of the reasons I did a BA in Business Management.’

When Parth travelled to the UK and arrived at King’s, however, those plans soon changed…

London calling

‘I owe so much to King’s and to London,’ recalls Parth. ‘It was here I realised cooking is my passion. I cooked from a young age, although most of the prep was done by someone else. When I came to London in 2018, I had to do everything on my own. But I enjoyed it and I learnt more about it through YouTube. I even bought myself a proper chef’s knife online.’

Although Parth was taking a full-time degree at King’s, his new culinary passion saw him take courses at Le Cordon Bleu, the prestigious cookery school near Bush House.

‘That was amazing,’ says Parth. ‘But my education there involved a lot of self-learning. I wanted to focus on vegan and vegetarian food. The tutors were teaching me recipes with eggs. When I asked about making the recipes vegan or vegetarian, they’d laugh and say, “You can’t do that!” That gave me more motivation to believe I actually could.’

Parth continued to combine his degree studies with food sector experience. This included work in a juice bar and at a catering company, plus nine-hour shifts in the kitchen at Club Gascon. Parth also started making and selling brownies and cakes to fellow students and neighbours. Any money he made was reinvested into buying better kitchen equipment.

‘I owe so much to King’s and to London’– Parth Gupta

Planting the seeds of Bloom

It was only when Parth returned to India in 2019 that he considered starting a culinary business.

‘I’d made money and I bought gifts for my family,’ he explains. ‘When I got home, they were surprised and asked where I’d got the cash to buy the presents.

‘I told them the story of cooking and selling food, and working in restaurants in London. My parents saw I was passionate about this and they said, “Why don’t you do something with this?” I hadn’t thought about doing anything apart from working in the jewellery business until that point.’

Parth started looking for premises in New Delhi, and visiting other restaurants and eateries to conduct market research. He also finished his degree in 2021.

The frontage of Parth's Bakery Bloom. It is a white sign with large blue lettering.

Bloom blossoms  

Eventually, that ‘something’ suggested by his family became the artisan vegan and vegetarian café and bakery chain, Bloom. Parth opened his first Bloom café in 2021 in Khan Market. His second opened in Aurobindo Market soon after. Both are affluent areas of Delhi with loyal customer bases. But Parth didn’t have a huge budget when he started out.

‘I became good at “bootstrapping”’, he laughs. ‘This is my term for succeeding on a tight budget. When we started, I couldn’t afford to hire lots of trained baristas. Instead, I hired one and he taught everyone else how to make coffee.

‘I also enjoyed the marketing modules on my degree at King’s. This meant I could design our company branding, graphics and menus. That saved us more money.

‘One of the hardest parts for me was to win the trust of my team. I was 21 when I started and the people I was hiring were in their 30s and 40s. India also has a lot of religions, so everyone was from different backgrounds. Managing that was challenging at first.’

Parth has proven he’s a capable manager as well as a successful businessperson. A third Bloom café opened in 2023 and he employs more than 40 staff. He was also nominated as a leading light in the Entrepreneurs Today list of 25 Under 25 in 2023.

Parth Gupta smiles warmly in his chef whites. Behind him, lights twinkle.

Bloom branches out

Alongside Bloom, Parth also has a new venture.

He explains: ‘The Indian wedding market is huge. Even in the UK, it’s very big. I want to tap into that and Lavender Flavours is my new wedding catering business.

‘Our first event was for a party for 200 people. Feeding so many was a bit intimidating. But when I saw all the hard work paying off and the event running smoothly, it made it worthwhile.

‘Bloom will also continue to grow. I’m planning to open new outlets in Mumbai and Bangalore. But it won’t be with the ubiquity of a chain like Starbucks. The standard of the products we serve is higher and our goal is to establish the brand as a premium cafe. I like the idea that people will travel to Bloom because it’s a destination worth visiting.’

We’re booking our tables already…

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