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A Paris Dream in Kolkata! - Chef Sneha Singhi’s Recipe for Success
Monday, 07 December, 2015, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Harcha Bhaskar, Mumbai
For a budding restaurant owner Sneha Singhi, the innate affinity for food was something which she discovered at the age of 7, and hence got into restaurant business at the age of 19.
Singhi, who belongs to a family known for its entrepreneurial background in the world of business, fashion and now culinary delicacies, apart from her business acumen, shares with the other members, the inherent love for food.
Recollecting her fond memories with regard to her love for food, Singhi says, “If you ever saw a kid throwing a fit in the cookery section of a bookstore, well that was probably me. At the age of 7, I learnt my basic arithmetic from my measuring cups, my compositions when I made my own recipes. I was that kid who was always obsessed about food and still is. However, the person that inspired me the most was my mother and her superbly well cooking.”
Talking about her love for food, she says, “My love for food is colossal. And my passion, I am currently looking for a bigger adjective than colossal. I don't know humungous, enormous, I would say infinite. For me every day is a food outing and a hunt to find or create something delicious. However, one childhood memory that I clearly remember is that I couldn't reach the counter top so I would have a stool to elevate me to reach the stove.”
Growing up, Singhi applied for a course at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and made it onto their patisserie department. After the completion of the course, she got a great internship at Pierre Herme and was delighted to work under the king of macaroons.
Then it was Laduree London, where again she got a chance to hone her skills. It was six months of handwork and creativity in Europe, after which she shifted to her roots - Kolkata, where following a short stint at Hyatt Regency, Singhi went on to chase and live her dream by opening Paris Cafe.
“After a joyous opportunity to work at Hyatt Regency in Kolkata and opening Paris Cafe, my thirst to know more didn't stop, food is an endless journey, so I went back to London and Paris to keep the knowledge flowing,” smiles Singhi.
Detailing on the concept, experience vs passion, she states, “Paris helped me a lot to become more dynamic in my field of interest. But I personally believe that practical knowledge is nothing compared to passion. If you have the passion that is required in this business, I think half the job is done. Having said that, one important characteristic to possess in this field is to be open to every cuisine and keep the creative flow coming.”
No matter how clichéd “everybody is trying to put up something different” sounds, Singhi believes she is one of those. Paris was one of her dream cities and food being her her dream job, everything just seemed perfect for her.
Singhi continues, “Paris Cafe has two outlets and is 40 employee-strong. Delivering a slice of perfection to Kolkata, delivering Paris Cafe was what I felt was needed to complete this very very sweet city, indeed.”
“The USP to these outlets is the perfectness it delivers and also how we take orders on such short notice, and which cater just right to your satisfaction.”
Singhi informs, “A lot of time was invested to bring Paris Cafe up, and yes it was very difficult to not being able to invest 24 hours in a day. The technology is imported. In fact, all my equipment is from Germany or other parts of Western Europe,” said Singhi.
To venture and sustain a business, entrepreneurs need to do hardwork and “The zeal to put forth your passion on a plate and also to be unaffected by the world, and focus on only my work,” explains Singhi.
As for the challenges, “Menu research for the sweet tooth-driven Kolkatans wasn’t that easy. In the whole setup of a restaurant, emphasis was given to research the menu. You see, Kolkatans don’t enjoy very experimental things and even if they do it’s not something they crave for everyday. So to keep drafting menus to pamper their bittersweet cravings righteously.”
However, she clarifies, “Though it really wasn't that difficult. My family strongly believes to choose a career path that makes you happy. So that everyday when you wake up in the morning, you are doing something that you love. Their reaction was extremely positive to the whole idea.”
When quizzed about her future plans, the hardcore athlete and rigorous swimmer, trails off, “Paris Cafe has a number of plans lined up, one of those plans include opening a fine dining restaurant. It’s a dream to not only make Paris Cafe a national but also an international chain.”
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