‘I’m the happiest when my oven is on’
A globetrotter by nature, Vidushi Sharma Bahl has an evolved palette of experiences along with a comprehensive culinary knowledge, a strong aesthetic sense and a sharp perspective. The pursuit of her passion led her to enrol at Le Cordon Bleu London for their prestigious Diplôme de Patissiere. She grasped the basic knowledge of savoury techniques and attained culinary qualifications side by side. Being in the kitchen for hours on end and learning something on the forefront every day, Vidushi further specialised 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 and 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 specialises 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 and vanilla bean bavarois. After her training at Cordon Bleu, Vidushi has designed and created her own atelier 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 and concepts across cultures on the spectrums of their literature, texture and culinary secrets.
Team L&M had a chat with Chef Vidushi…
Take us through your life (parents, education) till now…
Born and brought up in Delhi, I did my schooling from DPS Mathura Road and thereafter, graduation from Jesus & Mary College. Finally, I did a diplôme de Patisserie from Le Cordon Bleu, London. Both my parents are advocates and my love for food is basically inherited from them.
When was the first time you thought of becoming a professional chef?
I was always loittering around my mum’s kitchen as a kid. It developed into a hobby but when time came for me to pick a career, it seemed like a very natural choice to persuade my passion into a profession.
How easy or difficult was it to convince your parents that you wanted to become a chef?
Coming from a professional background, this industry is alien to them 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.
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 specialisations 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 own gastronomy and it’s very hard to generically describe the differences but European gastronomy is poles apart from Asian. The Indian food scene is relatively new and has its own buzz right now.
How do you rate the acceptability of Indian cuisine abroad?
The Western world is finally waking up to the fact that Indian cuisine isn’t just orange curry. Thanks to chefs like Atul Kocchar, Manish Mehrotra and Gaggan Anand, Indian cuisine is now presented in a much more modern and refined format while retaining its authenticity in textures and flavours. Gymkhana in London is a prime example of Indian cuisine becoming popular with a colonial edge and a special focus on game meat.
Are you for fusion cuisine or against it?
It’s a very tight rope to walk on. I like to dabble with some fusion desserts here and there. The key is to make the most of dynamic Indian flavours using classic French techniques.
If yes, have you created any dish which is a combination of Indian and foreign styles of cooking?
Yes, I love incorporating Indian flavours like paan, thandai and masala chai in my macarons.
Is there a chef you admire the most?
It has to be Christina Tosi as she’s managed to combine poor skill with nostalgic flavours and is a trendsetter in her own right.
Your favourite cuisine and how many different types of cuisine are you capable of producing?
My absolute favourite is Italian since I’m a carb lover. I specialise in all things French but do like to dabble in Thai, Japanese and Mediterranean.
Your favourite cuisine to cook…
There’s something very satisfying in whipping up a good batch of macarons. Famous for being temperamental, they’re fun to master!
When are you happiest at work?
I’m happiest when my oven is on and my atelier is swarming with heavenly smells from it.
An accomplishment you are most proud of in your career…
Managing to adapt my skill to the Indian palate has been a huge challenge but it’s always very educative.
Favourite ingredient to work with…
It is your last weekend on earth. What city are you eating in?
London. The gastronomy there is unbeatable.
Person you would most like to bake for?
Martha Stewart. My first tryst with pastry began with one of her American style torte recipes.
Thing about pastry most novices get wrong?
It’s very scientific; right from the measurements to the temperatures and timings. Most amateurs don’t realise that there’s zero room for error.
Who has been the most inspirational person in your life and how?
I gather a lot of inspiration from the people I surround myself with. I hold Jordi Roca in very high esteem. He’s one of the best pastry chefs in the world and he has never let his condition deter from achieving all kinds of success.