Anahit’s new job – From school to pastry

Published: Apr 25, 2023 Reading time: 3 minutes
Human stories by Mediamax
© Mediamax

Every morning Anahit Mamikonyan starts the day by switching on the stoves at her small bakery and making the day’s fresh pastries and cakes. Anahit and her family are from Goghtanik, Qashatagh Province. After the 44-day war in 2020, Anahit and her family fled to Etchmiadzin, Armenia.

Armenian media agency Mediamax wrote an article about our emergency project "REACT: Relief and Early Recovery for People Affected by Conflict in Armenia". 

A fresh start

Anahit is a teacher by profession. However, following the war, she enrolled in a pastry training course implemented by People in Need within the "REACT: Relief and Early Recovery for People Affected by Conflict in Armenia" project funded by European Union humanitarian aid and, as a result, discovered a new profession.

"Before displacement, I was teaching early-grade pupils at Goghtanik secondary school in Artsakh. When we moved to Etchmiadzin, we had nothing—but we had the chance to start again from scratch." - Anahit Mamikonyan

I participated in projects organized for people displaced by the war. One of these projects was run by People in Need. I knew about the organization before the training. After displacement, they provided us with food and hygiene kits and subsidized our utility bills for two years. In addition, after the training, they provided me with the stove I use at the bakery now.

The pastry training lasted for 6 weeks. It was comprehensive: it included both theoretical and practical classes. We acquired more knowledge during that period than was expected within the project. Last March, we established the “Goghtan” patisserie in front of the Charents 16 building in Etchmiadzin. It was relatively active initially, as it was new to the neighborhood.

The patisserie opens at 9am. Once I open the doors, I clean, put on my apron, and switch on the stoves. It is paramount to my customers and myself that we have freshly-baked pastries here. Customers often call and order pastry assortments before coming to the bakery.

Basically, the emphasis is on Gatas [sweet bread] and cakes. We make festive cakes only by order. We prepare about 12 assortments of pastry. We mainly bake cakes with a little cream and have 4-5 types of Gatas. However, cottage cheese cookies are the most in demand.

From pastime to profession

Making pastry has always been a hobby for me—now, it has become a job. You can make tasty cakes for your family; however, when you realize you could reach a wider public, you should take a more professional approach. The pastry training helped me a lot in this regard. I can’t say I’m taking big steps forward, but the start is the most important.

We were supposed to open the bakery in another part of the city with different equipment. There were some difficulties; however, all our issues were resolved thanks to my family’s support. Now, my sister and I make pastries together.

Our products do not contain chemical additives. We bake as if we were baking for our families. When we were in Goghtanik, I often made pastry. Our guests kept asking, “Don’t you have any pastries?” We intended to open a grocery shop in Goghtanik and even started construction. The village was far from the centre, and there were no bakeries nearby, so I wanted to sell the pastry in that shop. However, everything was left unfinished because of the war and our displacement. Thankfully, the pastry training turned a dream into a goal and now into a reality.

The article was published on 4th April 2023. You can read the full story here.

Author: Mediamax

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