Published on March 20th, 2014 | by Jehan Raffiuddin
FAB WOMAN: Pooja Dhingra
Known as the “M
Pooja’s passion for baking led her to one of the most prestigious culinary schools in Paris – Le Cordon Bleu. After training in the art of baking, her only dream was to bring a piece of that world to India through delectable desserts and beautiful cafes. On returning to India, Pooja persevered to realize the dream by opening up “Le 15 Patisserie”. That was two years back. Today, most Mumbaikars head over to one of Pooja’s many joints to fulfill their cravings for authentic French dessert with a twist of her own secret ingredients! Today, as a professional baker, Pooja heads one of India’s finest patisseries. The fact remains that she has always loved being in the kitchen, whether it was tasting menus at her father’s Mexican restaurant when she was 12 years old, helping out her mother in her chocolate business when she was 16, or learning how to make the perfect scrambled eggs from her Norwegian flat mate at 22. As a home baker, she makes hearty, uncomplicated desserts with kitchen staples that can be found at any corner shop.
In 2013, Pooja published her first book, “The Big Book of Treats” as a must-have for Indian home bakers. Written with a professional’s exacting eye and a home chef’s ability to improvise, it teaches you how to make everything from cookies and cupcakes to brownies and birthday cakes. Accessible, engaging and undeniably scrumptious, she bets that these recipes will bring all sorts of baked goodies—even macarons—right into your own kitchen! Le15 Pâtisserie is the winner of Times Food Guide award for best desserts in Mumbai and as for the lady herself, she was selected by Forbes India for their 30 under 30 entrepreneurs list and voted a Rising Star by GC Watches! The menu at Le15 Pâtisserie has been praised in several prestigious publications – Indian and international and the FAB BAG Crew definitely swears by it – Le 15 Patisserie is everything yum!
Not to rest on her laurels, this coffee-loving, Instagram-addict also launched Studio Fifteen – a culinary studio in Elphinstone where she has a gamut of hosts imparting their fine culinary expertise to her students. She has bigger dreams and goals for herself this year and we wish her all the very best in her future endeavours. When we caught up with Pooja, who had so many amazing things to share and as a special treat, here’s straight from this incredible chef who has shown you what a girl in love with macarons can do….
FAB BAG: What motivates you?
Pooja: The need to learn and improve, the hunger to travel and the urge to attain my goals
FAB BAG: Happiness is… ?
Pooja: Time spent in the kitchen, with family or when I’m travelling.
FAB BAG: One beauty tip that you can always fall back on?
Pooja: For me sleep works wonders!
FAB BAG: One secret no one knows about you?
Pooja: Well, at 17 I became a certified Reebok aerobics instructor.
FAB BAG: If you had to start up something new, what would that be?
Pooja: I’d love to work on a stationery or fashion line.
FAB BAG: Your favourite quote is?
Pooja: Isso Passa – Portuguese for ‘this too shall pass’ and ‘Everything happens for a reason’
FAB BAG: What’s the one message that you’d like to give to our members
Pooja: It is very important to dream 🙂
Here’s a behind the scenes video of what happens inside the Le 15 Patisserie kitchen. Take a look!
Parting shot: There’s no denying that Pooja is gifted when it comes to baking. But it’s her tremendous hardwork, a combined passion for desserts and business and constant focus over months that has led her to build one of the most talked about patisseries in town. Leave Pooja in any kitchen and she’ll create magic! For all those of you reading this story, we have one message for you, “Allow your passion to become your purpose and one day it will become your profession“
The *FAB* Women initiative by FabBag.com celebrates the occasion of Women’s Day all through the month of March with an aim to inspire women across the country by sharing stories of ordinary women with extraordinary lives. If you liked reading Pooja’s story, please leave a comment below and share this article. It’s now your turn to spread the inspiration.