Feels like home

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Participants also enjoyed a workshop with Pooja Dhingra

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Pooja dhingra

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The book launch event this week also saw a Le15 pop-up.

When Le15 Colaba closed its doors, “mourning” was heard from all over India, including Ahmedabad. Customers here said, “I went to the cafe before it closed and tried all the macaroons on the menu! It was an unforgettable afternoon. Call it the power of the delicate confectionery or the person behind it – rather the two, who bake not only desserts, but experiments. Often referred to as the ‘Queen of the Macaroon’, Pooja Dhingra’s biggest hit (in addition to this impressive list, of course – owning India’s first macaron shop in 2010 at the age of 24, six pounds from cuisine, a 30 under 30 label, an online retail line of cookies, chocolate and premixes available in 90 cities and becoming the first food influencer to reach the million) is her incredible ability to connect with people through food.

It was also heartbreaking for Dhingra, when the Colaba cafe closed due to the pandemic, and she ended up with her parents. “Well when the world went through the global pandemic and I think for a lot of people in the F&B industry it was a really tough year and we were recovering from it. I went through a personal crisis, where I didn’t know what I wanted to do for the future of my business.
The 35-year-old explains: “I had to close half of my business because of the uncertainty at the time, and it just brought me back to the kitchen, to cook every day in the house. my parents. I felt like I was 23 again and when you do something out of passion that then becomes your job, and you say to yourself: ‘Is this really work? What do I think about it? and for me, it was rediscovering this six year old who really loved being in the kitchen, why I do what I do and how this magic happened.
She went on to realize that that’s when all the questionable questions about herself vanished, and she was reminded that “This is what I do and I love it.” Thus, “Coming Home was born from this emotion of finding myself and writing these recipes which highlight my journey from the age of six until now”.

Hello Ahmedabad
There is something about the city that prompts the lovely Dhingra to make pop-up tours, captivate everyone and return to Mumbai. And she chose to start her book tour from Aapnu Amdavad last week, engaging an eclectic audience that includes experienced and up-and-coming bakers, in addition to influencers and bloggers. The “Meet and Greet” – hosted by the city The Open Slate By Radhika – began with a quick Dhingra workshop, followed by a (fairly long) question-and-answer session. In addition to a book signing, photo booth and afternoon tea including a delicious dessert, the event also saw a Le15 pop-up packed with food connoisseurs to get their hands on macaroons from another world. and, of course, a copy of Dhingra’s book.

This one is personal
We caught up with Dhingra ahead of the event, wanting more details on her recent work, before she took the stage. Ask her what makes Coming Home different from the rest, and she reveals, “So first of all, a common thread in all of my books is that it is written for everyone – anyone can take it, enter Indian cuisine and create magic. . All of the recipes and ingredients are readily available at your local kirana stores and the techniques are not very complex. Where my other books are thematic – for example, one focused on cooking without eggs, another on baking, but Coming Home is just about getting to know myself better as a chef. On their own, these recipes may not make sense, as there is everything from a brown butter shakarpara, a makhaana cereal bar, and a Basque cheesecake in these pages. It’s like me on a plate, you can see how my mind works, what makes me – that’s what makes this book unique.

Pooja comes home to …
The title “Coming Home” accompanies us throughout the interview, and we couldn’t help but ask, “What does Pooja come home to every day?” To that, she replies: “I think about it a lot these days, I have just moved and I live alone; It’s been about six months now, and every day, when I come home around 6-6:30 p.m., the light shines on my sofa so well, and the wallpaper is so beautiful …
“It’s just delicious, everything is neat, clean and decent in the house and I’m coming home. It brings me joy because all day I spend working with so many people and my days are really hectic and super stressful. So when I get home it’s so peaceful, ”she smiles.

THE QUEEN OF CONFECTION SAYS …

Ingredients / tools cannot cook without
If these are tools in the kitchen it must be my scale, strangely enough I can’t cook without music so when I’m in the kitchen I need to have some kind of music playing. background. My bowl, whisk, spatula. There are always four or five things around me.

Favorite Coming Home Recipe
It will be unfair to choose among all of this, but there are two that are very dear to me – my nani’s ‘Gaajar ka Halwa’ – my nani is gone but every winter I feel at home when the halwa is done; also, the recipe is authentic, it’s all hers. The second is Jackfruit crumble, inspired by my grandfather, a Mangalorian who made a lot of Jackfruit curry, which I had when I was a kid. So, again, I felt like I was at home.

Christmas favorites
Aah, I’m not a big fan of plum cake, I don’t like the traditional fruit cake but I have my own vision. So, we have a plum cupcake which I love because it has cream cheese frosting on it, and we have Christmas macaroons with orange and cinnamon flavors, and the spicy hot chocolate.

Advice to aspiring bakers
Always try to understand why you are doing what you are doing, it makes things a lot easier. Never forget to have fun because what you do will spread joy and happiness. Remember why you started and why you are doing it.


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