Pooja Dhingra The Macaron Queen of India Le15 patisserie owner

Bakers Brisk Team

July 19, 2021

Pooja Dhingra The Macaron Queen of India Le15 patisserie owner

The Inspiring Journey of ‘The Macaron Queen of India’, Chef Pooja Dhingra




Pooja Dhingra is not an unfamiliar name when it comes to renowned Indian Chefs. She is an Indian pastry chef and also named Miss Macaron chef who was born in 1986  in Mumbai and is currently living in Mumbai. In a space dominated by men, Pooja has become one of the most prominent young women entrepreneurs in our country.

To many people’s surprise, baking was not her dream! As a child, Pooja was interested in Law and aspired to be a lawyer.

 Her family has invested much of their time in making traditional - cultural food right. The passion for cooking and baking can be seen in her family itself. Dhingra's father and her brother own a Mexican restaurant in Bandra, Mumbai. When Dhingra was young, she would run around the kitchen, tasting new recipes developed there.

Her mother Seema Dhingra is a numerologist, tarot reader. Starting off being a baker initially commenced once when She met her aunt and learned the art of baking from her in her younger days.

Currently, Pooja Dhingra is the owner of her self-made bakery Le 15 Patisserie, the first macron store in Mumbai whose beautiful hamper is filled with bakery goodies like Yummy cakes, cupcakes, macarons and many more involved as in dessert. Chef Pooja Dhingra founder and CEO of this bakery shop. The place is specialised in macarons with some dessert and a part of Paris in India. Her bakery set-up is what makes her a businesswoman which is loved by a huge percentage of consumers.

Inspired by Family

macaron chef

Dhingra’s mother ran a small home-run business of chocolates which helped her inculcate the spirit of entrepreneurship at a very young age. Her aunt was an inspiration for her as well, as she initiated her into the art of baking. The more Dhingra thought about her career, the more this industry felt like the right choice to her. Pooja Dhingra loved to bake and even started making brownies at the young age of six, which she shared with her family and friends. Of course, there were only positive feedbacks.

Academics

Basically, Pooja's academy is also far more interesting. She first enrolled herself for law in Jai Hind College as she wanted to become a lawyer.  Just a few weeks after enrolling in law school, Dhingra realized that that is not what she truly wanted to do. So, she packed her bags and flew to the land of chocolates, Switzerland!  to attend a hospitality and management course in Switzerland school named César Ritz school in Le Bouveret. After spending her three years, she began her training sessions in Paris at Le Cordon Bleu. As she experienced each session at Cesar Ritz, she realized her calling and knew exactly what she wanted to do in her life. 

The Macaron Queen of India

As she identified her area of interest, she knew that she wanted to get professional training in pastry making. Three years later, she began her training at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. This is where she was exposed to French desserts which helped her create a landmark in baking and earned her the reputation of the label ‘Macaron Queen of India’. 

Dhingra tasted her first macaron in a French patisserie called Pierre Herme, and she recalls that particular moment as life-changing for her. She wanted to bring back this delightful creation of macarons to India, and so she did. That was the beginning of the long journey of our queen, Pooja Dhingra.

Beginning of Business

When Chef Pooja Dhingra returned to India, she opened her first Parisian-style patisserie, with the name of Le15, In March 2010 with the goal of creating an influence of Parisian cookery at her store in Mumbai. There, she served signature French desserts as well as simple main course dishes. 

For starters, she rented a small store in Worli and later in Palladium, Lower Parel. Till then, she had her store on a short level with bakery goodies in it. This beginning was largely inspired by Cordon Bleu. Slowly, her staff of 2 grew into a staff of over 100 employees and her business has just grown since. The pâtissier had borrowed money from her father at the time to set up her central kitchen and 3 outlets in Mumbai. Later, she expanded her business by adding more to the menu with the macarons as a  special dish in it, that's the reason she's renowned as  Macaron Queen of India and hence forth she inaugurated her new store - Le 15 Patisserie, located in South Mumbai.

Though her special dishes and desserts are named after French women, the cafe's menu also included simple, tasty and joyful main course dishes within it. During the start-up of her new expansion of her cafe, she faced the shortage in the staff members in the cafe. She was not able to get many staff members because of the initial days of opening the cafe and even the competition in the food market, is a real thing. Pooja recalls that perfecting the recipe of a macaron in India was quite challenging considering the hot and humid climate here. But after rigorous trial-and-error, she finally perfected the recipe and now offers customers various flavours to choose from. After All, who doesn't like tasty food. And in this case, Pooja has a unique dish with her but still, gaining N number of clients requires best planning for which she was still settling it.

Being a young business owner, Pooja admits that it was a quite challenging time for her, but she refused to let anything slow her down. Even after being dubbed as the 'Macaron Queen of India', Dhingra did not stop. Apart from being a baker and an entrepreneur, she is also an author, Youtuber as well as a podcaster. 

Planning

        For hotel's or cafe's, Quality is what matters the most for gaining the follow-up in your hotel, cafe'. Let's assume, one new cafe/hotel is inaugurated in your neighbouring area ..there, you hardly find people in that hotel. Some people would choose to go in and try out the hotel's dishes and that some people come out to be your good friend who loves to eat and have a good choice of food and you really take him/her for their suggestions to order food in parties or daily hangouts. And if that person recommends you to try their dishes, you would really want to do that because of their suggestions for it. And if you find that hotel's dishes as good as said, then it's even worth travelling. So that's how one hotel gains popularity in their area by area, in the city and besides that, we have a really good source in our hands through which all humans around the world can be seen by all the people using their social media handles - Facebook and Instagram. Social media has a great power to make anything viral on the internet with great and catchy videos/posts in it.

Upgradation

           Later in 2014, she hired 42 people as her cafe staff. She had gained a lot of popularity in her early 30s by being an entrepreneur. Her cafe is really running like how butter slips in your hot chocolate purry. But in our country, the patriarchal system is still not gone. In our societies, women are hardly allowed to shine in their dreams and make them come true in their lives. Thinking about society and working on your life can never be a solution to your passion. Living in the 21st century, we still cannot change the backward thinking of the people. They only want their sons to earn for their housemates and not daughters/daughters-in-law. They always come up with the same lame line, "log kya kahenge". This line is copy-pasted in all over social problems. In India, people live more to become likely in society than to be with family members. But there are things changing, there are many women who inspire other women to let their dreams grow within them and work for that so one day you would see your dream coming true as you wanted in the future.

Success

        And out of such inspiring women, she is never missed for mentioning. Pooja Dhingra is a successful entrepreneur and a great chef who is a specialist as Patisserie chef and also responsible for bringing macarons to India and making them familiar with the country people. Since 2013, she has been on the page of successful entrepreneur lists. Her journey from making cakes and other baked cookies in her younger days to becoming a chef + entrepreneur. She had come a long way along with her family support. But to be in the market full of taste with different hotels and cafes, she had to bring her unique recipe on her visitors plate, which is macarons that she was hooked on since she tried one of them when she was in Paris during her session days. A supportive family really matters to a person who works on his/her dream to make it a passion, though her family is food obsessed so she didn't face any problems from her family.

Growth

           Her being a businesswoman itself is great to let other women get inspired by her. She has also been featured many times in national dailies and also regular in fashion outcomes, not just for being a chef but also as an entrepreneur. She was also selected for Forbes India, for ‘30under 30’ achievers list of 2014 and also the Forbes ‘30 under 30’ Asia list. Dhingra being a businesswoman and a chef, she had also written down her books named -

*The Dark hour - India Under Lockdowns - the name of the book itself speaks about the story and the background information that would be a part of this book.

She had written this book along with her more writer colleagues.

*The big book of treats, Coming home, The wholesome kitchen:- Nourish, energise, Indulge.

These are some of her other books written by herself and also some with other writers as well. She had another book coming up that might be revealed anytime soon.

           No doubt that she's so full of good skills. She's been handling all of her work for the past 12years. We can see her Passion towards baking macarons. The number of times she made macarons can highly be calculated on our fingertips. The cafe' - Le 15 Patisserie located in Bandra, gets the star rating till 4.3 out of 5 or sometimes also gets the star rating between 4.5 out of 5 . There are many young entrepreneurs all over the world who are really good but Pooja had typed down all her to-do list for setting up her business at her young age of 22. Right from naming her cafe' to logo making and it's color sets, menu making, poster/banner makings and all. From setting up her cafe's outlook to doing publication, all things were decided by the Chef-CEO Pooja Dhingra herself.

Achievements and Aspirations

Pooja’s ambition is to open establishments throughout the country. After catering to top Bollywood celebrities, as well as the Ambani’s, she managed to carve her niche. Pooja vocalized that the pastry situation in our country was very different back in the day, with the same items on each menu, as well as very basic packing of food. 

She wanted to change the consumers' experience with pastries. She paid attention to every detail of her work other than just food, including the logo design of her brand and colours of the packaging, as well as dainty ribbons as a patron’s delight.

The chef has authored 3 books, viz ‘Big Book of Treats’ in 2014, ‘The Wholesome Kitchen: Nourish. Energize. Indulge’ in 2017, and ‘Can’t Believe it’s Eggless’. The book ‘The Big Book of Treats’ is where the chef has compiled her recipes using simple ingredients which she claims can be bought at the local Kirana store. The book won second place at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in China.

 She received numerous letters and emails from amateur bakers telling her how they were able to achieve delicious treats by following her recipes. Little things like these are what keeps our beloved chef keep going further and achieving new goals.

A New Way Business

          During the pandemic, when the whole country or rather I should say the whole world was trapped in - the Lockdown because of the deadly virus COVID 19 for almost 3 months straight. So, during the lockdown the company took over their online site and social media platforms with some tasty recipes of cupcakes, macarons, cakes, and cookies as well. The site of the same is just filled with all the good recipes of pastries, cakes, macarons. Short shots and videos were uploaded on a daily basis on their social media handle on Instagram.

         Now-a-days the company is also doing business online as well as going with the flow. We are hardly left with any company which doesn't have their online site or they don't take orders of their products from online consumer's. We can do almost the whole monthly shopping within just one click. Everything you need is available online. Online is the word that even a toddler around us know about very well. And that's how Le 15 Patisserie also does the shipping all over India of other goods and not cupcakes and macarons. They are Shipped only in Mumbai because of the quality of the cookies packed. This huge enterprise is built and runned by her own. She constantly keeps thinking out of the box for macarons flavor with different and attractive colours. The client list speaks for her hard work she put in her cafe'. Big Bollywood stars like Masaba Gupta, Sonam Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Salman Khan and many B-town stars are in her client lists. And such fame requires more responsibility and hard work, which is incomplete without challenge. Challenges are everywhere on all the stages of life. You are the one to decide whether to tackle the challenge or to get tackled by it. It's totally your call. And Pooja Dhingra chooses to keep her ability on peak to tackle all the challenges and now made such a good name for her cafe across the Country. She herself takes the classes as well by giving up some precious time from her busy schedule.

Her Personality

          Pooja Dhingra is a very inspiring and a hard working personality. Everytime you put her name in the search bar, more news is updated besides her name, which pops on our screens as unfamiliar to us. Whatever she does, her Passion is reflected like a mirror reflection. She never stops working. It's always said that ‘Hardworking is the key to success’ and we can see her now, where she has reached. She keeps herself engaged with baking or writing and taking classes. Dhingra is the bundle of different skills filled within her. It seems like nothing is impossible for her. She also wants to try more different and nutritious flavours for macarons, so she could introduce more kinds of macarons in the upcoming menu of her cafe. She visits different countries to get the taste of unique food, tries to make those dishes and gives her own touch. Her reason for traveling is one of these.

Different Platforms

Apart from all this, Ms Dhingra also has a YouTube channel with almost 18,000 subscribers. She posted her first video on May 29th, 2020. She also has a huge fan base on Instagram with 7.4 MILLION followers. She has her Le15 website, where she offers baking kits for kids, cake mixes, macarons, cakes, cheesecakes, as well as doggie cookies! They also have cookbooks, and many products are also shipped throughout the country.

Inspiring Journey

            Going through her whole journey from the start till date, she's been amazing in her own ways. Her motivation of trying new recipes of macarons to add more desserts and cupcakes while giving her own touch to cookies like Tea breads , croissants in the store is just too adored. She always searches for the new and uniqueness while she always gives her keen attention to Le15 Patisserie. She also has the vision to start up her business all over the country rather than just shipping and try to make out the best of her company and see her hard work repaying her off by touching the sky's limits. Wishing her for the best is always expected for whatever she is on to. May she become successful in  bringing up her business to another level of success and keep her cafe as lovely, sweet and filled with full of positivity.

What we can learn from her story

Pooja Dhingra went from being a young law aspirant to a well-known celebrity Chef who passionately shares her food experience. The Chef brought a whole new twist to the baking culture in our country. She teaches us that passion can be attained when we choose to be persistent and work on achieving mastery over our art. One should take on the challenges that life throws at them and treat it as an opportunity to discover something new or help regain its charm.

Dhingra has been an inspiration to many, especially young girls who realize that no dream is too big for them to achieve. Even after years of continuous hustling, Pooja continues to be on her journey to more love and success.