Tell us about yourself and your introduction to the world of baking?
I am a Pastry Chef and a chocolate maker. Since my childhood the only thing I knew was that I was good at baking. I started following Nigella Lawson’s show on TLC as a kid. I absolutely fell in love with her and would watch each episode obsessively. She introduced me to the world of pavlovas, trifles and cheesecakes. Once my love for baking kickedstarted, there was no looking back. I used to stand in my kitchen for hours at an end to try out different cakes and pastries and slowly evolved to become a pastry chef.
What professional courses have you taken so far?
I’ve spent most of my schooling life in a boarding school called Mayo College Girls School, Ajmer. Post school I knew I had to get a culinary degree but in those days Culinary schools didn’t have degree courses and so just to be safe I graduated from Royal Holloway University of London, UK and got a degree in Business Management. However, I really spent most of my time in those three years baking for my friends and getting my hands on fresh ingredients meant that I could create a storm in the kitchen. After graduating from college I did a short certificate course from Leith School of Food and Wine, London. That opened a lot of gates for me and I started believing that I was meant to be a chef. I then worked at the Trident, Gurgaon, for a short while to get a little hands-on experience.
A couple of months into my job I got an offer to work in Malaysia and my two favorite things in life are traveling and exploring food from different countries and regions. And so, I embarked upon my 1 year journey to KL to work as a project manager for a culinary studio kitchen. Deep down my goal was still to specialize in French Pastry techniques and so I applied to my dream school Le Cordon Bleu, Paris and I got in. 2011 was by far the most memorable year of my life. To be studying the art of pastry making from some of the best chef’s in the world was a real ‘pinch me’ moment for me but more than that it was exploring the food outside on the streets of Paris. After that I knew for sure that I had to go back to Jaipur and open my own patisserie.
Tell us about your culinary school journey and how has your experience been?
Where do I even begin! Le Cordon Bleu taught me so much not just from a pastry perspective but also from a life’s perspective! From owning all the pastry skills to making friends like family. I learned from my fears who came from different walks of life but shared the same love for food as me. Walking around the streets of Paris was an education in itself as I got the opportunity to explore some of the best patisseries in the world. There’s inspiration all around you, you just have to observe and let it all sink in!
You opened your own patisserie at a very young age. What challenges did you face?
The challenges were different on different levels. I was all of 22 when the thought of opening Dzurt crossed my mind. Even though I had done Bsc in business and management from Royal Holloway University of London, there is no business school that can teach you how to run your own business in India. I kind of had to unlearn everything that I was taught there to finally figure out how to run my own. From making the construction workers understand how and what kind of work I want without them treating me as a child who doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Building a solid team was a second challenge I faced and with utmost pride in my heart I can tell you that even after 9 years my team members remain the same! The next challenge was to build a menu that the people of my city would resonate with considering we were the first patisserie of its kind in the town. The main challenge started after I opened Dzurt when I realized that 70% of my city wanted eggless pastry! so that’s how my journey kind of started.
You currently own 3 brands. Can you please tell us a little about each?
Dzurt starting from my sheer love for pastry, creativity and passion. I wanted Jaipur to have a stand alone patisserie where I bring them into a world that they have not witnessed before!
All things came about when my business partner, Kuhu Kocharv reached out to me. Together we wanted to start a chocolate brand, a celebration of art everyday. At All Things we try to translate inspiration into a box encasing divine chocolate goodness. Our muses in cocoa change with each new experience that gets reflected in all the new flavors that are launched every few months.
Cut chocolate cake I wouldn’t really call it a stand alone venture. It’s a studio kitchen where I host workshops both online and offline and shoot content for social media.
You host a lot of online and offline workshops. Can you tell us where your love for teaching began?
I get inspired by different things in different phases and like to share my technical knowledge with the people who follow me. I used to host offline workshops in my city but during Covid lockdowns I realized that the internet is a great medium of learning and I could share my knowledge with others through it. I have a YouTube channel where I post a lot of recipes. I have also hosted “The Baker’s Table” on Zee Zest where I’ve showcased some of my recipes.
You have also introduced your own line of Home Decor products, tell us about that?
I came up with the idea of Dzurt Decor because I thought it would be a natural and organic expansion of Dzurt Patisserie and Cafe! The aesthetics of all the products that we have in this range are all coinciding with Dzurt’s branding be it our beautiful light green and peach colour. Also, I am someone who loves beautiful plates, mugs, mats and scented candles at home. I always get inspired to make sure that even a reading corner in my house has aesthetically pleasing decor. Hence, I started Dzurt Decor and the inspiration for the first collection was the beautiful Wisteria wallpaper that’s at Dzurt!