OG Pastry Chef Pooja Dhingra On Food Trends, Social Media, And Reinventing Herselfby | October 07, 2019
The words Pooja Dhingra and macarons are always uttered in the same breath. Synonymous with the French pastry, Dhingra can be attributed with introducing India to the crumbly and decadent meringue deliciousness. An alum of the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu, Dhingra returned home to start Le 15 Patiserrie, serving up a slice of Paris in Mumbai with moist eclairs and melt-in-your-mouth brownies.
Further expanding into Le 15 Cafe that is tucked away in a narrow lane off Colaba Causeway, the pastry chef now delivers macarons across 12 cities, making this delicacy as commonplace as Indian mithai for celebratory occasions.
With a whopping 3.4M followers on Instagram, the chef is also Insta-famous for being part of Sonam Kapoor’s girl squad that includes fashion powerhouse and sister Rhea Kapoor. Dhingra and Rhea Kapoor recently came together for The Doers Club by Dewar’s, a series that embodies the brand’s motto of ‘Double Is Better’. Bringing together the dreamers and the doers for a host of pop-up events across the country, skilled chefs are teamed with celebrity food enthusiasts. The duo kickstarted this experiential platform by curating a decadent gourmet food and drinks experience at Soho House recently by creating a scotch + butter menu together.
We caught up with the duo over food and smooth whiskey to speak about being doers, their go-to drink, and their industry from an insider point-of-view. Here, we speak with Dhingra, the OG pastry chef.
Luxeva: Tell us a little about your association with The Doers Club?
Pooja Dhingra: “The Doers Club creates unique experiences and also bring creatives from different fields together. It’s a great idea, which allows all ‘doers’ to be in one place, spreading positive vibes. I hope to create wonderful new dishes with a whiskey twist while getting the opportunity to enjoy the surprise and exclusive pop-up events!”
Luxeva: Are you a whiskey enthusiast?
Pooja Dhingra: “Yes, I am. My go-to drink is scotch on the rocks.”
Luxeva: There are talented chefs entering this industry every single day. How do you keep reinventing yourself to stay ahead of the curve?
Pooja Dhingra: “I believe in staying authentic and true to my origins. I actively collaborate with creatives from different fields to curate new menus and designs. Additionally, I take constant feedback on every new idea from my team, and from my followers on social media. I do not say no to any idea unless proven otherwise!”
Luxeva: Is there a food trend that you're really excited about? And one that you think is overrated?
Pooja Dhingra: ”I love how hyperlocal food is going. Chefs are gradually sourcing ingredients that are lesser-known, and coming up with amazing farm to table concepts. A trend I dislike is making a foam out of everything. Very rarely does foam add flavour to the dish.”
Luxeva: Have you ever begun preparing a dish from scratch for the second time because you weren't happy with the first one?
Pooja Dhingra: “Of course. In any profession, you end up reworking an idea or a dish because it didn’t turn out perfect the first time.”
Luxeva: Tell us one misconception that people have about you, your profession, and the life you lead?
Pooja Dhingra: “Everybody assumes that my life is perfect and that there’s no struggle involved. But each day brings its own struggles. Every product that we work on has an insane amount of hard work behind it. This is why I make sure to convey through my social media that life is not meant to be perfect. It’s not that rosy, fairytale picture that you see online. It’s difficult, and you work to push through that.”
Luxeva: What television show are you currently obsessed with?
Pooja Dhingra: “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”
Luxeva: Where would we find you at a party?
Pooja Dhingra: “With my friends, equidistant between the bar and the dance floor.”
Luxeva: What does luxury mean to you?
Pooja Dhingra: “Attention to detail.”
Featured Image: Unsplash