Women usually told to stay in kitchen more than others places. But what if, A woman blows the world just by staying in Kitchen? Especially in India, Women use to listen to this words, “Your culinary skills must be good than other things.” Right?
This misconception is butchering by Vidushi Sharma Bahl with her exemplary cooking skills. Like every other girl, Vidushi’s first inspiration is her mother. She is experimenting with
contemporary dessert trends wearing her mom’s apron in her early teens.
Vidhushi was born and brought in Delhi, realized very early on that being in the kitchen gave her a sense of happiness. She would always look for an excuse to get into the kitchen at home – be it baking for college events or helping a friend out with a bake sale. It was always a rewarding experience when she would get to see a smile on her friend’s or relative’s face when she would make them a birthday cake. It’s said that pastry chefs are generally good people; they spread happiness & cheer wherever they go with a whiff of vanilla or a sprinkle of confetti.
An expeditionist by nature, Vidushi has an evolved Slab of experiences along with extensive culinary knowledge, a robust tasteful sense, & a sharp perspective. The pursuit of her passion led her to enrol at Le Cordon Bleu London for their prestigious diplôme de patisserie. She grasped the basic knowledge of savoury techniques and attained culinary qualifications side by side. Being in the kitchen for hours on end & learning something on the forefront every day, Vidushi further specialized in Boulangerie and Cake decorating from the same institute.
Trained by the best chefs of the world, Vidushi has developed her skills in the niche of French technical pastry and makes delicacies like complex gateaux, entremets, & macarons. Combining unique flavours and experimenting with different techniques & produce, her work holds its own in front of the usual, but that’s not all! She also specializes in revisiting classic & comforting desserts and presenting them in a never-seen-before avatar like revisiting the old Banoffee pie but giving it a very complex French twist or the Tiramisu encased in a Mascarpone, white chocolate & vanilla bean bavarois. She also specializes in revisiting classic & comforting desserts and presenting them in a never seen before avatar. After her training at Cordon Bleu, Vidushi has designed and created her own workshop where she perfects her art and takes bespoke orders.
With an ambit of creating a selectively-spiced curry of experiences without ‘extra salt or sugar,’ Vidushi is on a trail to explore new tastes, cuisines & concepts across cultures on the spectrums of their literature, texture, & culinary secrets.
I had a chat with Vidushi, trying to know about her with a conversation.
When have you been decided that you have to make a career as a chef?
I use to make cakes for my friends and relatives in my college time. I feel so amazing whenever I am in the kitchen. Shiny & colourful Kitchen aids, gleaming white marble countertops, the ever-pervading smell of chocolate, followed by the clanging of a whisk against a bowl & endless laughter became my image of a Pastry Chef. Once I graduated, it only seemed natural that I pursue my passion for baking & turn into a career choice; Therefore I decided to get enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu London.
How much it was difficult for you to be a Chef or it was easy for you as you already passionate about cooking?
Yes, Definitely. Pursuing dreams comes with full packages of Joy as well as difficulties. To enable oneself to think out of the box and create something new as if on a blank canvas, a solid fundamental knowledge base is essential along with some serious skill development. Le Cordon Bleu did just that for me; it showed me the technical side to Patisserie & some lessons almost felt like a science class. After a year under their aegis, I was loaded with every kind of skill, technique and food-related knowledge possible.
Being a chef teaches me to look at food beyond just sustenance. It’s about finding inspiration in the humblest of ingredients and creating something extraordinary that leaves you thinking about it for days!
Did you also face any criticism after taking this decision to Become Chef de patisserie?
Coming from a professional background, this industry is alien to my parents and relatives, but they’ve always encouraged me to pursue my passion and find my calling. It’s all about excelling in what you do and not really ‘what’ you do.
A lot of people cautioned me that it’s not what it seems. Being a Chef requires grit, determination & an endless supply of forearm strength. I shrugged away all these naysayers and off I went! London beckoned with dreams of turning out to be another Peggy Porschen! I realized quite early on that it takes a lot to be a chef. It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted. It truly does require all the qualities mentioned above, but it needs most of all, is an undying passion for food.
- Tell us about your formal training for becoming a chef…
I’ve mastered the Culinary Arts at Le Cordon Bleu, London and attained a Diplôme de Patisserie along with a basic knowledge of French technical cuisine and specializations in boulangerie and cake decoration.
- You have been to various countries and cooked there. How different is the scene there vis-à-vis India when it comes to food?
Every country has its gastronomy, and it’s tough to describe the differences generically, but European gastronomy is poles apart from Asian. The Indian food scene is relatively new and has its buzz right now.
“It’s a very curious time for the F&B industry in India! Because of more exposure, people are gladly moving towards quirky flavours & extraordinary techniques, the farm to table concept is the new IT thing; alternate grains that have been an integral part of the Indian
culture are finally getting their due credit, and fun concepts like pop up restaurants are gaining popularity, but the most important change is that people are finally interested in knowing the Chef who created their meal and not just the establishment.”
What are your plans in India? How are you going to pursue your passion here?
Armed with all this, I got back to Delhi & set up my workshop here. Adapting the skill set & flavour knowledge to the Indian palette was challenging but fun. I love the days where I ideate recipes & the excitement to hold a new trial, the sheer thrill of it almost takes her back to her first day at Culinary School.
I have a long way ahead of but as long as I surrounded by good ingredients, nothing can hold me back. The Indian Gastronomy is in its nascent stages and chefpreneurs are a very welcoming lot! It’s a very more the merrier attitude since in such a creative field the opportunities are abundant and ideas are fresh!
Here is a treat recipe for you by Vidushi, Which you can try at home as well.
A Crème Anglaise is one of the first things we’re taught in Patisserie at Le Cordon Bleu.
One of the building blocks of patisserie, it literally translates to ‘English Cream’. Essentially a custard, this is one of the most versatile sauces I use extremely often when I’m off creating new entremets. I may play with flavours and new techniques and textures but a basic technique I stick to is this one. The flavours you can add to it are endless and it always gives your trifle a gourmet feel when you swap Brown & Polson with a homemade custard. This crème is used as a base for mousses, Bavarian crème, & ice cream. It can be poured over warm gateaux; once baked it can be consumed as crème brûlée. It works amazingly well in layered puddings or as a tart filling, the list is basically endless.
- 250ml full cream milk
- 65g caster sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 vanilla pod or any other flavouring like cinnamon, mint or cocoa
- 5ml of Grand Marnier, Cointreau, Kailua, Baileys or any other liquor optional
- Split the vanilla pod and scrape the beans out. Add the pod and beans to the milk.
- Heat the milk gently in a saucepan till steamy, add half the sugar to the milk.
- Whisk the yolks and add the rest of the sugar to them, continue whisking till the yolks are pale and fluffy, this is called blanching.
- add half the hot milk in the yolks, combine and add this mixture to the rest of the milk on the heat.
- Slowly cook out the egg yolks and wait for the custard to thicken while constantly stirring the mixture with a rubber spatula to ensure one doesn’t end up with scrambled eggs.
- once the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and isn’t runny anymore. Take it off the heat, discard the vanilla pod and chill in the refrigerator.
- Once chilled, you can add a liquor corresponding to the flavour you have opted for. This gives the custard a slight kick and cuts the creaminess. It’s optional.
- Let your imagination run wild with what you choose to do with it, It stays for 3 days in the refrigerator or up to a month in the freezer.