Macaron millennia: Paris Cafe's Sneha Singhi on being a baker boss in the city of mishti snobs
Paris Cafe’s Sneha Singhi is one the most emphatic architects of the millennial gastro culture in the city; as scrumptious and easy the bakery’s mini macarons and Parisian crepes are, Singhi’s trajectory has been no cakewalk. The Le Cordon Bleu graduate has created a taste for distinctly global palates and authentic European flavour profiles and is quite optimistic about Kolkattan gourmands.
“Not too long until I can serve a bacon flavored, whiskey infused cupcake for its sheer smokines and a chocolate curry cupcake for its weirdness,” Singhi remarks gleefully. So, what does it take to be a millennial baker boss in Kolkata? Here’s finding out:
When did you decide to explore the food spectrum?
This has been my passion since I have had the ability to remember, I think since I was four. Two generations in my family have been really good cooks and everyone in my family is so particular about food that is served to them, that it is ingrained in my DNA.
What was one of the most significant challenges you've faced as a young entrepreneur and a boss?
As an entrepreneur, you have to think very locally to make a big impact in the sector. As a boss, you do come across issues when you work with a team that is generations apart from yours. Because, the idea of “unlearning” comes not so easily to them.
You've worked across the globe. How is the approach to experimental baking different in India as compared to other countries?
People in India only want to experiment with numbers they have tried in a different country or if the desserts can do voodoo for them on the plate, or for their Instagram. But reading off the menu and understanding the dominant flavors and ordering something bold is something not many are confident in doing just yet.
People are more curious, inquisitive and quirky with their food in the west than they are here. But times are changing, as are we!
How would you say the gastro scene has evolved in Kolkata in the last decade?
There is both an old charm and new freshness to the way people crave for their food now in Kolkata. So the new joints are trying to bring Kolkattans the perfect blend of that. Like every other relevant revolution, I think the taste revolution in India is real.
The reason for the onset of this is the plethora of shows, social media handles and writings that have made people really experimental. Everyone is now willing to try unique flavours like matcha, foie gras, charcoal and food that is perfectly balanced and not just bullishly spicy.
The one tip which can help young food-preneurs.
Personalities who've inspired you?
Nigella Lawson since I was a child, and French pastry chef Cedric Grolet.
Anything major you're planning next?
Le Studio is a venture I have just started to teach short workshops and long term food courses to passionate people with no age, gender and cuisine barriers. The courses will be held by me and a bunch of master chefs around the globe. Le Studio is also growing deep into the F&B consultancy services.