Meet Saqib & Melanie Mir: Owners of Kashmir’s First Authentic French Bakery “Le Delice”
Tell us about yourself
Saqib: My name Saqib Mir, I am from Boulevard road Srinagar. My schooling was from Biscoe School and then Burn Hall School. I come from a highly educated family , my grand father Capt. Dr Ali Mohmmad was the only doctor from Kashmir valley who served in The Royal Air Force and my grand mother was the first woman principal of women’s college.
I met my wife Melanie in South India, then we got married in France and lived in France for 11 years.
Melanie: My name is Melanie Mir. I was born in France. I worked as production coordinator in Film and Advertisement industry in France. Now I help Saqib in day to day functioning of Le Delice.
Where did the idea for the Le Delice come from?
I have always loved baking since my childhood and I used to make a lot of stuff at home and people would love it ! While living in France my love for French Cuisines and Bakeries grew. So I decided to take baking as a profession and I got a diploma of baking from Paris.
Talking about of idea Le Delice , I always wanted to open something in Kashmir. As Kashmir has a rich bakery culture and it being my place of birth, me and wife decided to open a French bakery in Srinagar. Besides this it was also a great opportunity for my children to live Kashmiri culture.
We were ready to open the Bakery on 2014, but unfortunately the floods delayed our project. Finally, we opened last year, in July 2015.
What is the best lesson you have learned from starting your bakery business in Kashmir?
We lack food quality controls in Kashmir . People should understand that eating good and clean food is important, somehow people tend to ignore this fact.
What has been your biggest challenge you have faced so far starting a business in Kashmir?
The challenges we faced were due to delays by the administration in doing paper works and formalities regarding various services.
In the coming years, what would you like to achieve with your business?
We wish to provide more varieties and in different places in Kashmir valley so that our customers don’t need to travel alot from far flung areas to buy our bakeries. We are looking to open a nice French tea Saloon, where people could enjoy our creations in a French atmosphere.
If you could give one piece of advice to some Kashmir living abroad thinking about starting a business in Kashmir, what would it be?
Kashmir is ready to welcome all the new concepts that we can find abroad and this is the right time to implement them.
Kashmiri people have suffered a lot in past but now people want to live their lives, bring back the rich Kashmiri culture , enjoy the wonderful environment and nature around.