Slurrp Exclusive: In Conversation With Insha Qazi, The Dynamic Woman Behind Kashmir’s One-Of-A-Kind Cheese Café
Image Credit: Insha Qazi, She took a career shift from designing to entrepreneurship.

Juggling between being a mother, a professor, an entrepreneur and a foodie, Insha Qazi is the lady with multiple feathers in her hat. The dynamic personality of this Kashmiri entrepreneur has been well-translated into the interiors, ambience and overall vibe of her Cheese café. Although she admits that she’s not much of a chef herself, her inspiration for bringing this unique concept to the valley lies in the snow-clad mountains and pristine beauty of Kashmir itself. In a philanthropic attempt to promote local trade and empower the masses of the region, Insha headed out on this tricky journey, combining her design knowledge with her love for all things cheesy. 

Alongside the café and home stay, Insha also envisioned a cheese factory and no wonder, it is one of the major attractions there. The woman behind this one-of-a-kind venture gets candid with us about her ups and downs, achievements and future prospects. Excerpts. 

Q1. How did the design student end up becoming an entrepreneur?

I am a business student from IIM, I teach Business Analytics and 19th Century fashion at SSMD School Of Design which I also founded in 2017, the only premiere fashion school of the valley. I became an entrepreneur because entrepreneurship is all about being able to nurture new talent and get the best out of your colleagues. When you run your own business you build your own team who share the same vision as you and this is one of the most rewarding aspects about being an entrepreneur.

Q2. What’s the story behind the unique cheese cafe that you’ve set up in Kashmir? We want to know all the whens and hows! 

Ah! The story behind this unique farm stay with a small cheese factory and cafe is that, as a child I would often spend my every summer vacation in Gulmarg but I was more fascinated by the panaromic valleys of Tangmarg. My childhood memory is breathing in pine-scented air, watching glorious sunrises & gazing into starlit night skies. Tangmarg is also known as the Milk Capital of Kashmir. Almost every household has cattle and the milk is supplied to other districts like Srinagar, Baramulla and even Budgam. The village of Tangmarg is not only stunning landscapes but has the highest employment rate, high literacy rates and women are more empowered by skilled education. People are tourist friendly to an extent that they will make sure you have a cup of kehwa at their homes. 

Source: Insha Qazi 

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Place almonds, parmesan and paprika into the Thermomix bowl and mill for 7 sec/speed 7. Tip contents from bowl onto a plate and set aside.
  3. Place garlic into the bowl and chop for 2 sec/speed 7.
  4. Add chicken, cream cheese, egg, onion powder, salt, pepper and 50g of the milled almond mix. Blend for 15 sec/speed 8.
  5. Scrape down sides of bowl and around blades. Repeat blending until well minced and incorporated.
  6. With wet fingertips, measure one tablespoon amounts of the chicken mince and shape into nuggets. Coat nuggets well in the almond mix. It helps to have two people doing this step. (Cue hungry children.)
  7. Place nuggets onto lined baking tray and bake for 12 minutes.
  8. Turn nuggets over and bake further for 8 minutes until firm and golden.
  9. Serve with sauces of choice.