by Zubin Mistry (The Chocolate Bawa)
Jasa me Avanghe Mazda. I am a first-generation, American-born Zoroastrian.
Every day I pray, wear my Sudreah and Kusti, and give thanks for the life I have been blessed to live. I am extremely proud to represent a faith that promotes a freedom of choice, the understanding of consequences, and the allowance to forge and follow a path of Asha.
Most importantly, under the tutelage of the best culinary creators the world has to offer AKA my family and community, I learned the art of expressing my religion, my culture, and myself.
Like many other first-generation born Zoroastrians, I have found it difficult at times to find a sense of belonging. Was I American, Indian, Parsi, Zoroastrian, or a weird mix of all? I grew up in two distinct communities: the boisterous, in-your-business, dhansaak-loving Parsi community and the “normal”, hamburger and hotdog-loving American community. Both seem completely opposite of each other on first glance, but in the end, they’re one in the same to me.
Food has always been a passion of mine, especially baking and confectionary. There is no greater feeling than seeing people enjoy your creation, your craft. Like life, food is always changing and evolving. What was once seen as a necessity is now a statement of self-expression, of creation, and of growth.
The Farohar is a very important symbol to me, as it is for so many others around the world, and to our Zoroastrian faith. It serves as a reminder that no matter the struggles, difficulties, or outcomes of a situation, I must keep the faith and keep moving forward. I can trust that someone, somewhere, is looking out for me, in some capacity. I see the Farohar as an identity, backed with a rich history full of innovators, leaders, artists, and creators. People who pushed boundaries, sought out the truth, and forged a path of righteousness. I identify it as a symbol of passion, growth, and a basis for evolution and exploration. The Farohar is my identity.
For almost 10 years, I was on a journey to solidify my identity and create a prosperous and meaningful path. Throughout this journey, I experienced many peaks and even more troughs. In this time of change, my religion remained the only constant. Seeing the Farohar reminds me to soar higher and push through the toughest of times. I’m grateful for this constant as it has supported me and inspired many of my early culinary creations.
As I embark on this new culinary journey, I will continue to use the Farohar as a symbol of progression and purpose. These chocolate Farohars are a personal way of expressing my appreciation and love for the religion and culture I was born into, and my way of showing other culinary creators that their imagination and ingenuity is limitless. I’m a product of many generations and communities, and it’s my duty to give back and influence the next generation as they learn to live in our ever-changing world. As a result, I plan to donate a portion of my sales of chocolate Farohars and various other confections to Zoroastrian charities around the globe.
There is no greater joy than witnessing another person’s face light up with awe at the sight of a culinary creation. That wide-eyed stare as they eagerly pick a confection, the satisfaction on their face as they bite into a gooey piece of chocolate, the laugh (and minor tinge of guilt) as they reach for another piece. I guess this is why they call it a “Guilty Pleasure”. Having done stand-up comedy for years, I am constantly reminded of the importance of a smile and the positive effect it can have on an individual. It is with this same vigor that I now transition into the culinary arts. I am proud of what I made, and I intend to keep creating.
Should individuals like to reach Zubin Mistry, they can message him on Instagram @the_chocolate_bawa.