Pooja Dhingra

(SPEAKER)

Mumbai, India

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Pooja Dhingra who is known as the Macaron Queen of India comes from a family that has been into cooking since the start. Her father and brother are the owners of a restaurant. Her father used to invest in various restaurants in Mumbai and her brother runs his own restaurant.When Pooja was a child, she learnt baking from her Bua (aunt). Her aunt used to keep her busy with baking on Sundays as Pooja was someone who would get bored very easily. The first thing she baked was brownies. She was extremely excited to see the brownies coming out of the oven. At that time, she learnt that even with simple ingredients, something creative can be made. Since her childhood, she has been a big fan of chocolate. Pooja Dhingra in her childhood Pooja Dhingra`s love for chocolate.After completing her commerce studies, she enrolled in a law college. She attended the classes for two weeks there and felt really bored seeing the books. Soon, she realized that her interest was in hospitality and not in law.

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Pooja Dhingra who is known as the Macaron Queen of India comes from a family that has been into cooking since the start. Her father and brother are the owners of a restaurant. Her father used to invest in various restaurants in Mumbai and her brother runs his own restaurant.When Pooja was a child, she learnt baking from her Bua (aunt). Her aunt used to keep her busy with baking on Sundays as Pooja was someone who would get bored very easily. The first thing she baked was brownies. She was extremely excited to see the brownies coming out of the oven. At that time, she learnt that even with simple ingredients, something creative can be made. Since her childhood, she has been a big fan of chocolate. Pooja Dhingra in her childhood Pooja Dhingra`s love for chocolate.After completing her commerce studies, she enrolled in a law college. She attended the classes for two weeks there and felt really bored seeing the books. Soon, she realized that her interest was in hospitality and not in law.She told her parents that she wanted to study hospitality. Her parents supported her and she went for further studies in Switzerland in 2004. Her brother was in the same college as her. After completing her graduation, she went to Le Cordon Bleu school in Paris in 2008 where she learned how to bake French pastries. There, she tasted macarons for the first time at a party thrown by her friend. She was really mesmerized by the flavour of macarons. She wanted to bring the same taste to India as well. Pooja Dhingra`s love for macarons.Sharing her teachings from Switzerland and Paris, she said in an interview, During my first year, I interned at a small family-run hotel (Villa Toscane). I was 18, had never been away from home alone and was doing the amount of work that usually six or seven people would typically do in India. Every morning, I would serve breakfast to dozens of people, wash up and start over again. I didnt know a word of French and my boss knew no English. It was a nightmare. But by the time I was interning at a five-star hotel (Trois Couronne) in the final year, I had grown a lot more confident. I opted for housekeeping and my job involved changing some 60 beds and cleaning toilets. At some point, they recognised what I was doing and towards the end of my internship, I was going for meetings with my general manager and instructing people much senior to me..In 2010, she returned to India and started working on the recipes of the macaron. Macarons at that time were not so popular in India. She always thought to herself that what was the reason behind having no macarons in India. She realized that her career in India would bloom only if she makes macarons. In an interview, she said, This might sound dramatic, but I realised that yes, this is what I want to do, I want to go back to India and take macarons with me. This was my mission..After returning, she tried making the recipes many times but, she failed because she was working with local Indian ingredients and the climate in India was more humid than in Paris, but once she was ready with the recipe, she opened her first macaron restaurant in Mumbai. She named the restaurant Le 15 Patisserie. Talking about the name of the cafe, she said that the name has been kept because she was living in the 15th Arrondissement in Paris. Pooja Dhingra`s Le 15 Cafe.Her father invested in her business as he trusted her and had faith that she would excel.As soon as Dhingra started selling macarons, the small cakes filled with cream became famous and her restaurant started gaining fame.When she started the business, she was 23 and people did not take her very seriously. She faced a lot of issues when she wanted to rent a place or buy a machine. Everyone told her that they wanted to talk to her father or husband or brother. In an interview, sharing her experience, she said, Being a young girl in a male-dominated industry was not easy. Even finding suppliers or real estate agents that wanted to work with me was tough. As the years have gone by the challenges keep changing from day to day operations to scaling a business. My education in Switzerland, and working in hotels there, gave me a good idea of what working in hospitality would be like, but dealing with the bureaucracy is extremely difficult when starting a business in India..

Performance Details

7

Off Stage Members

1

Performing Members

60-90 Min

Performance Duration

Can Travel

Nationwide

Performance Language

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