The Art of pastry

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This festive season, some of the top pastry chefs of India’s leading hotel brands share their insights on how to master the craft and what’s trending in the industry

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Key essentials of mastering pastry craft

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Chef Ravi Varma

Pastry craft is all about creativity and the incredible taste sensations that one can create! The fascination with technique and innovation is a never-ending process, and as a pastry chef, and I guess this is true of most professions – one must be a keen learner to identify and grasp new techniques and trends. At La Patisserie, Taj Coromandel- Chennai, the focus is on creating desserts that are marked by interesting textures and thoughtful mix of ingredients.

New trends in India

Today’s guest is so well-travelled and with several TV shows and magazines showcasing the current exciting trends in food and desserts, it becomes imperative for us to keep pace and reinvent our offerings to stay relevant. Patisseries today are not limited to just simple pastries and cakes. Now it is about mirror finished cakes, spider glaze using titanium dioxide, and desserts with various textures and combination of exotic flavours. Today, with the availability exotic berries and edible flowers, creativity is taking a huge leap with interesting flavours and colours. Social media is playing an important role in exchanging ideas. And not only this, with today’s guests wanting camera-ready food, chefs have to be creative in taste, of course, but also in presentation.

Your special offerings

La Patisserie, Chennai’s favourite cake shop and delicatessen at Taj Coromandel – Chennai is much loved among Chennaiites for its signature dishes, delectable pastries and chocolates, and bespoke hampers for every occasion. We have crafted several sweet masterpieces, adding to the menu an enviable range of delicious pastries and cakes, delightful chocolates, an appetising
assortment of freshly baked breads, breakfast rolls and scrumptious snacks. I particularly love our offerings of chocolate pralines with homemade fillings of Earl Grey tea; orange, raspberry pralines; filter coffee and salted caramel. And also the Nutty Barks, Chocolate Florentines, macaroons and brownies in customised gift boxes. We also offer classic French pastries revisited, mirror cakes, sugar-free and gluten free cakes and vegan cakes. A must try is the gluten-free Chocolate Silk Cake – rich, smooth and flavourful. To add a dash of glamour to your celebrations at home or at work place, we offer creamy desserts set in small take-away cups. The take-away party desserts are available in four flavours – tiramisu, mango, chocolate and strawberry. Guests have also loved our travel cakes – good to carry while on travel and can be part of your evening tea! These cakes do not need refrigeration. Choose from varied flavours like almond, orange, vanilla, banana walnut, pistachio, marble and apple cinnamon. Also, breads in varied flavours like walnut and rye, pumpernickel, sunflower seed, potato bread, French baguette, toast bread white, toast bread whole wheat and sweet breads like Chelsea Bun, date and jaggery and cinnamon bread. For those who like it customised, we also offer bespoke cakes.

Signature items for this festive season

For the festive season other than traditional plum cakes and puddings, La Patisserie offers homemade spreads, jams, flavoured marzipans, fruit marshmallows and ginger cookies. Its sweet bliss with edible chocolate greeting cards, chocolate Christmas trees, chocolate Santa and festive cupcakes.

Guests can also enjoy our Signature Stollen Bread. This is a rich Christmas bread with stuffing of marzipan and infused fruits, soaked in clarified butter overnight and rolled in cinnamon sugar. There are also bespoke hampers containing a range of festive goodies, wine and gift hampers.

Chef Ravi Varma, Pastry Chef, La Patisserie, Taj Coromandel-Chennai

(As told to Sudipta Dev)


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Key essentials of mastering pastry craft

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Chef Savio Fernandes

Excelling in anything requires a fine balance of love for the art, practice and proper guidance. To be a great pastry chef, being trained under the guidance of an accomplished and experienced pastry chef is always the best place to start. This coupled with the will to learn and constant practice to hone your skills takes you a long way. Pastry craft also requires having access to proper ingredients and equipment to create the perfect dessert.

New trends in India

The world of pastry craft is always evolving with innovations and new trends making it so exciting. Well-travelled guests now understand and appreciate the finer nuances of chocolate which has led to the trend of using single origin chocolate in pastries. Gravity cakes are another exciting new trend. Themed parties and corporate coffee breaks (buffet tables especially) have also picked up big time.

Your special offerings

We at The St Regis Mumbai have themed Sunday brunches and modern plated desserts at our  modern European restaurant – Luna Gusta. Other than that, I am proud of The St Regis’ custom made cakes and the breakfast spread we have to offer.

Signature items for this festive season

With Christmas round the corner, we have planned a modern classic menu for the buffets. We will be recreating some signature holiday desserts like the traditional plum cake, European Christmas classics like the Stollen and plum pudding. We will also be adding a few delicious desserts in the menu this year such as crisp white chocolate gingerbread cake and hand molded pralines.

Chef Savio Fernandes, Pastry Chef, The St Regis Mumbai

(As told to Sudipta Dev)


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Key essentials of mastering the pastry craft

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Chef Abdul Wahid

Practice makes a man perfect and this is something which really stands true in the field of pastry. Getting the basics right is extremely important in this field. It is through constant practice and the experience that is gained over the years that your basics are polished. Your personal involvement will not only enhance your knowledge of ingredients and how they need to be handled but also allow you to understand to what combinations and concussions work the best together.

New trends in India

Health is taking a centrestage in the country where more and more consumers are choosing the healthier options and gradually the industry is also adopting practices to deliver to this trend. This is being done by moulding and using ingredients and creating offerings that are healthier.

Your special offerings

I would like to highlight our range from French chocolates to Bavarian vanilla. We also ensure that the menu and offerings are kept in rotation depending on the seasonal availability thus ensuring the best of produce and freshness to cater to such ever-changing situation. We also have a dedicated flavour of the month which is meticulously selected according to the produce in season. For the month of December we have strawberries as our flavour of the month and we ensure that the menu and offerings are altered daily to highlight the freshness of the ingredient.

Signature items for this festive season

Some of the special offerings that we will be adding to this festive season is plum pudding, baked chocolate melt parfait with spiced sauce and panettone with orange vanilla sauce.

Chef Abdul Wahid, Pastry Chef, The Westin Gurgaon

(As told to Saloni Bhatia)


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Key essentials of mastering pastry craft

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Chef Vivek Kadam

Being a pastry chef is the most wonderful job in the world if you have passion, determination and a touch of talent, plus patience and a lot of knowledge. We are continuously in the quest to seek new information and techniques and keep up with the trends in the market. However, this craft gives you the freedom to make a recipe of your own, to tweak/ modify it as per your preference and come up with an extraordinary product.

New trends in India

Europe has always been the hub of pastry and desserts and we draw inspiration from there in various ways. Most popular in the recent times are cupcakes, jar cakes, macaroons and colourful pralines and different looking Verrines and glazed cakes. For those who want to have their cake and diet too, there are calorie-controlled items that fit the bill. These satisfy your craving without adding to the calories and making you feel guilty after having them. Another trend gaining popularity is fusion desserts, Indian flavours mixed with foreign ingredients creating magical new recipes.

Your special offerings

All our guests swear by the Tiramisu at Celini. In addition to our signature truffle cake at the Gourmet Store, we are constantly experimenting with flavours from different regions which have been appreciated.

Signature items for this festive season

Revel in the season’s exuberance with our indulgent plum cakes, handcrafted cookies, chocolate Santa Claus, gingerbread, stollen, Christmas pudding, Dundee cake and a host of seasonal offerings. Keeping in mind the growing health consciousness of our guests we are customising healthy alternatives using oats, cranberries, raisins and other such ingredients.

Chef Vivek Kadam, Pastry Chef, Grand Hyatt Mumbai

(As told to Sudipta Dev)


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Key essentials of mastering pastry craft

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Chef Sanjay Bahadur

First and foremost, the most important thing that is required to master the art is my basic education at the catering college. My very first trainer gave me the best of knowledge and made sure I repeated a task to perfection. Today I value that part of my training. I really believe there is no substitute for hard work. The minute details of an art are essential to master the craft of pastry. One should never be content and should try something new or innovative. Good tools and raw materials also assist this craft.

New trends in India

The Indian bakery industry is a fast growing industry as bakery products are making their place in the Indian lifestyle. The industry is largely influenced by the West and the Middle East. For example, jar cakes, red velvet cakes, mini desserts etc. The concept of designer cakes too has been accepted very well by the country. This has in a way helped us to explore our own creativity in many other things. The Indian bakery industry today is exploring new heights. There has been a lot to offer in eggless products which people think is not possible.

Your special offerings

While at work, I have a personal motto which helps me cater well to the guests “Presentation attracts and taste fetches.” Today, taste and presentation are the two things that makes a guest come back for more. Some of the dishes that do really well are Salted Peanut Brownie, Florida cake, Chocolate cake and savouries to name a few.

Signature items for this festive season

All baked goods incorporate forgotten Indian grains like barley, millet, ragi etc. A lot of recipes consist of soya cream and milk as a substitute of old fashioned full fat dairy cream wherever possible. Salted peanut brownie is a signature dish which is liked by most of my guests. We did some hampers for Deepawali recently consisting of saffron gulukand cake, double chocolate chip cookies, homemade walnut dark truffles, cashewnut white truffles, to name a few. This winter we will be doing some ginger bread cookies, bouche de noel, plum cake, plum pudding, ginger bread house, Stollen to name a few.

Chef Sanjay Bahadur, Pastry Chef, ITC WelcomeHotel, New Delhi

(As told to Saloni Bhatia)


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Key essentials of mastering pastry craft

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Chef Gopal Chamoli

A pastry chef thrives on imagination, innovation and a thorough knowledge of how ingredients work with one another to create a wide variety of baked treats and desserts. A pastry chef must develop solid culinary skills in addition to perfecting his individual pastry making skills.

New trends in India

The ‘sweet food’ wave is the latest fashionable trend to sweep the culinary world. Trends regarding desserts are constantly evolving and desserts have become real luxuries. Hotel patisseries are expected to craft elegant and delicious pastries with an artistic and precise approach that favours seasonality and creativity, while keeping up with the standards of the establishment. The latest dessert trends should define an indulgent finale to a great meal out. These trends include – deceivingly down-to-earth desserts with upscale attributes, innovative techniques while blending the non-traditional dessert norms with the old, and also the size of the treats. Other trends include- combining cold elements with hot ones, substituting dairy items with granita (semi frozen desserts), sorbet (Italian ice), deconstructing desserts, dessert hybrids that combine two desserts into one, and also incorporating savoury food items into the sweet ones. At our newly launched tea restaurant – Mister Chai, we have also tried to incorporate flavours into desserts that would bring back memories of our guests making them reminisce about their childhood.

Your special offerings

Our tea restaurant, Mister Chai is a unique concept of a tea restaurant where we have a jewellery box, culinary display at the patisserie within the outlet featuring exquisite and classic desserts. Amongst our offerings is a unique selection of artisan chocolates blended with local ingredients like sweet saunf, aam papad, and tamarind which are the flavours embodying the concept of Mister Chai.

Signature items for this festive season

This festive season, we will be offering our guests a selection of unique desserts at Mister Chai such as Jasmine Honey Bar, Raspberry Delice and Mango Gulkand Bavarian to name a few.

Chef Gopal Chamoli, Pastry Chef, Shangri-La’s, New Delhi

(As told to Saloni Bhatia)


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Key essentials of mastering pastry craft

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Sunil Vaishampayan

The most important factors would include creativity and innovation. Also his/ her passion towards this area of interest needs to exist without which it would not bring out the best of the individual in the products created. Having a steady and artistic hand while producing these creations is also very important.

New trends in India

There have been plenty of introductions of dessert hybrids in the market recently. In addition to these hybrids, there is a good demand for vegan and gluten free products as well. The consumer market itself has grown in the aspect of more health oriented products. There are also other introductions of sweet and spicy desserts as well as sweet savoury items on the menu create a value addition as well. Items like a BLT waffle or a grilled veggie pancake are some options.

Your special offerings

At Eat Around The Corner we offer a spread of nearly 30 different desserts on a daily basis which range from international favourites like red velvet, baked cheesecake, Tiramisu, etc, in addition to more traditional desserts like German Chocolate Cake, Linzer Torte. Also, house specials like New York Chocolate Cake, Sticky Toffee Pudding and Mars Bar Cheesecake. The counter is spread across 10 feet of a display counter and we also have a variety of 15 plus breads for sale. For a restaurant to have this kind of a space to showcase my bakery and pastry creations is something any pastry chef would be proud of.

Signature items for this festive season

We will be considering a few signature new items designed towards enhancing the Christmas feel. These would include options like Brandied Fig Torte, Iced Christmas Torte, Ginger Bread House, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Stolen and many more.

Sunil Vaishampayan, Executive Pastry Chef, Eat Around the Corner, Mars Hospitality

(As told to Sudipta Dev)


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Key essentials of mastering pastry craft

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Chef Dinesh Khandare

The basics are very important, they form the foundation, no matter what the cuisine. Be it French pastry, Indian sweets, Middle-Eastern sweets, etc, balance of flavours, marrying flavours that go together, incorporating textures (gimmicks/ hype these days, strange flavour combinations being used). Pastry art and the visual appeal of desserts is essential to our craft.

New trends in India

To be honest we are still aping the West.. we are now following a lot of Australian trends after the popularity of Masterchef Australia (deconstructed desserts, etc). Following a global trend, Indian pastry chefs are incorporating local flavours and ingredients. Indian desserts are getting a makeover with western flavours.

Your special offerings

I am particularly proud of our Gulab Jamun Creme Brulee, Lemon Grass Pannacotta, Paan Ice Cream, Dulche De Leche Kheer.

Signature items for this festive season

This will include Apricot Panatone, African Yule log, traditional Xmas rum cake, and other specialities.

Chef Dinesh Khandare, Pastry Chef, Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai

(As told to Sudipta Dev)


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Key essentials of mastering pastry craft

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Chef Manoj Painuly

As interesting as it seems, pastry craft includes a lot of prerequisites in order to obtain a successful product. Most importantly, this requires a creative mind, backed by proper knowledge about the ingredients, basics of baking and pastry arts, an artistic hand, management skills and patience. These are the core essentials required to master the pastry art.

New trends in India

Tex-Mex cuisine for one is a new trend which is gaining a lot of popularity these days. Mostly the French trends are followed in the culinary industry in India. Then, there is the theme of fusion which has gained a lot of acceptance; allowing chefs to have fun and be adventurous. Also, the concept of blending is widespread in the food industry which extends to tea, jams, wines, flavours etc. Along with these growing trends, today, people in India are extra conscious from a health perspective with low fat and healthier food options emerging as the preferred choices.

Your special offerings

Already counted amongst the best in the tricity, Chandigarh Baking Company or CBC as it is popularly known, the bakery and patisserie at our hotel was re-launched with a new and improved theme and menu recently. At JW Marriott Chandigarh, we look to stay ahead of the curve and come up with offerings which are one-of-their kind. Many of the offerings in the new menu of the CBC are a first in the city.

‘Crème Brulee stuffed Raspberry Cake’ is an exclusive creation of experts at JW Marriott Chandigarh’s CBC. Realising that the youth today love to try traditional foods in refreshingly different ways, the good old chhole-kulche has been introduced with a twist in the new menu of CBC. The newly-introduced waffle-pressed chhola-kulcha sandwich consists of white chickpeas, masala kulcha and cottage cheese. Though most people have had chhole-kulche, the waffle-pressed sandwich topped by a sprinkling of secret spices is something refreshingly new.

Signature items for this festive season

As we are about to enter the last month of the year, it is that time of the year which marks the arrival of the Christmas and New Year festivities. The festival of Christmas is celebrated with a lot of pomp and show in the hotel. The pastry department is all on its toes to ensure that we are able to welcome Christmas and the festive season in the most joyous and celebratory manner and enjoy it to the fullest.

A wide variety of breads and pastry items are presented during this time of the year which includes the signature Christmas breads and a few innovations of the chef’s plum cake, plum pudding, special Christmas cookies and ginger bread house. The CBC will keep on prepping up and refreshing the menu by offering new flavours for items like éclairs, macaroons and pralines on a regular basis.

Milkshakes in new and exciting flavours will be served in a glazed mason jar with an interesting combination of toppings accompanied by quick-bites. Adding healthier options to the menu our chefs have introduced bakery items like the 100 per cent whole wheat bread and rye bread which are baked fresh with no added preservatives or additives.

Chef Manoj Painuly, Pastry Chef, JW Marriott, Chandigarh

(As told to Saloni Bhatia)

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