Meet Miss Macaron Pooja Dhingra, whose patisserie is now a landmark in Mumbai’s dessert scene
Pooja Dhingra has whipped up an assortment of delicious offerings, but the icing to her achievements as a patissier is perhaps the almond crusted meringue cookies she introduced to Mumbai – the macaron.
During her days at Bombay Scottish, she dreamt of opening a café of her own and all the incoherent scribblings by her friends in her yearbook are enthusiastic wishes for the future baker. While her affair with chocolate continued, she enrolled at law school after two years of studying commerce at Jai Hind College in Mumbai. Two weeks into law school, Dhingra realised that her true calling lay elsewhere and flew to Switzerland, where she studied hospitality and business management at Cesar Ritz. With her area of interest crystal clear, Dhingra returned to India in 2007 and decided to secure professional training in the area of pastry making.
She launched Le15 in 2009 with just two employees. The then 23-year-old patissier borrowed Rs.10 lakh from her father and set up her central kitchen and three outlets in Mumbai. Dhingra sought to change the experience of savouring a pastry for the average Indian and did this by paying attention to the design of her logo and box colours, which were all made in pastel colours with dainty little ribbons that proved to be a patron’s delight. Right from the moment a customer set eyes upon the pretty packaging and opened the box to find a rainbow of colours till the time they bit into one of her French confectionaries, Dhingra had envisioned it all when she launched her patisserie. But, the highlight of her launch story would be the almond crusted meringue cookies she introduced to Mumbai – the macaron.
“It was difficult being a 23-year-old for people to take me seriously. So, when I had to buy big machinery or rent a place or talk to suppliers, I used to ask my dad to come along,” reveals Dhingra. Her perseverance and toil has paid off. Over the past six years, she has added one more outlet and a full-fledged café in Colaba while being at the helm of a 70-employee organisation.