Dharma Delahanty: The Artistic Baker


Dharma Delahanty posing for a picture.

By Jessica Palmer, Staff Writer

High school gives students great opportunities to explore new fields of interests. Senior Dharma Delahanty has taken advantage of this and dove into the fine arts courses. From baking sweet treats to creating detailed collages in scrapbooks, art has been a huge part of her life.

“I came into high school freshman year like ‘I’m going to be a baker and I’m going to take all the food classes’… Since then, my plans have kind of changed but it really influenced how I saw my future for a while and still how I see my future because it is still an option,” Delahanty said.

Throughout her years at Niles West, she has taken a number of food and art related classes such as Art Foundations, Painting and Drawing, Ceramics I, Chefs, Gourmet and International Cuisine and Commercial Foods. However, her love for baking and the arts started before high school.

“I remember very specifically the first thing I made by myself from scratch was in seventh grade, and it was peanut butter thumbprint cookies with jelly… and I baked them in our little toaster oven. I was just feeling like making some cookies. My mom helped because she’s a really good baker… and I just started baking more and more after that,” Delahanty said. She has been baking a variety of goodies from sweet roll cakes to technical savories.

Her mom, Seema Chandarana, who’s also a math teacher at Niles West, helped inspire Delahanty to bake and used the phrase “monkey see, monkey do.” She has also had the pleasure of being able to eat Delahanty’s delicacies and has her favorites.

“Two things come to mind, one was the mocha chocolate cake she baked for my birthday because of the buttercream frosted roses and strawberries. It was gorgeous and it tasted as good as it looked. The other thing that rivals that probably are her croissants. It’s so technical [and] she did it to perfection, you would never have known they weren’t professional. She made it herself which was amazing,” Chandarana said.

With ideas from school and inspiration from home, it is exciting to see what she will bake next! Her support has helped her continue this passion and motivate her to see the unique things she will come up with. From posting her desserts on Instagram, sending pictures to her cooking teacher and sharing it with her friends and family, Delahanty has quite a crowd delighted by goods.

“Dharma is an amazing friend,” senior Anne Sotelo said. “Since I’ve met her she has been a person I could always talk to and always have a good time with. She had always been a creative person and baking has been one of those things that she loves doing. It’s really nice when she brings some over for me and my family, we all like trying something new that she makes.”

Delahanty isn’t just an amazing baker, she is also involved in a number of school activities such as French club, French honors society, and the slam poetry team. As involved as she is, she will always have time to say hi to you in the hallway, don’t be shy to introduce to yourself!