Asian Lite’s FnB columnist Riccha Grrover in conversation with India’s First Certified Bakery, Pastry and Chocolate expert-chefpreneur Sahil Mehta on his bakery and pastry brand in India, called Paris My Love
Chef Sahil Mehta is India’s First Certified Bakery, Pastry and Chocolate expert. His early life was spent in Paris, France which gave him the exposure to the French Culture of Dining.
Chef Sahil completed his education from one of the most reputed school in Paris , L’ecole Internationale de sevres. And further to this he graduated in hotel management from Santos Dumont Paris and went on to study as prestigious institutions such as Lenotre ( Harvard of bakery schools) and at 3 Michelin Alain Ducasses institute. He is trained in Decoupage de fruits de Mer et Fromage, Flambage, Blind Chocolate tasting, innovative pastry creation, bar management, restaurant and patisserie management.
He has worked with Ritz – Paris, Bristol , Salon Wilson, Travelers club m hotel Baltimore, potel et chabot , roland Garros and Unesco in Paris. Chef Sahil returned to India in 2010 and has established bakeries across the country for many hotels , chefs and standalone ventures.
Chef Sahil has been behind brands like L’opera, Chocodiva , Renaissance , Bread et More, Cravity , Honey & Dough , Tesu , Fleur De Lis , The artful baker , Red Mango , Brooklyn bakehouse, Meette , La Mia , Paris my love etc.
He says “My philosophy is simple : Passion is my main ingredient , which reflects in my products and the joy of having loyal clients makes me work harder. I very often travel to France to upgrade my skills.”
RICCHA GRROVER- Tell us about your journey as a chef, did you always plan to be a professional chef or dabble into it as an extension of a hobby?
SAHIL MEHTA– I moved to France in 1993 where I had the opportunity to experience the French way of hospitality. Once I completed my education I decided to do a hotel management course. Further on, when I came back to India, I saw a great opportunity in the bakery and pastry field in India as a chef. Hence I went back to Paris and did a chef’s course in patisserie & boulangerie. That in a nutshell is my journey on how chef life all started!
RG– What have been the challenges to the FnB industry in Covid times and what difficulties have you overcome a FnB entrepreneur in these times?
SM– COVID times have been challenging for the FnB industry in many ways. Delivery service was a very big challenge for a bakery and pastry product such as ours. Delhi summer is very challenging the products could only travel in an air conditioned vehicle and we also had to ensure that our delivery person is safe and protected. There for we decided to stick to delivering in our personal vehicles instead of outsourcing as we didn’t want multiple people entering the premises to collect the orders. We also tried to keep our outstation staff stay at the premises to avoid unnecessary movement .
We started our kitchen operations with a limited menu to test the waters during COVID times, there was definitely a need / demand for bakery and pastry products of this niche quality and as everybody was sitting in the house therefore cloud kitchen model to cope with pandemic times was definitely the way forward. We could make a larger audience who are used to travelling for this quality of products abroad taste it and know about the brand with word of mouth promotions that have helped us sail smoothly in a post-Covid world.
RG- What makes Paris my love a unique bakery brand? What inspired you to start this bespoke baking venture? What are the top 5 eats from your curated menu you recommend a first-timer to try.
SM-Through all the culinary consultancies that I have done over time, I realised that each time I set up something with pure passion, post my exit the clients compromise on quality somewhere to economise perhaps hence I started Paris, my love, with the vision of remaining with it, making it authentic and use the best of ingredients, so I guess authenticity and originality make us unique.
Five things I recommend a try are,
3) French Country bread
5) Almond Croissant
RG– What is it that keeps you inspired in your profession? What words of advice do you have for budding FnB chefpreneurs?
SM-The ability to be able to create with innovation and the fact that our patrons are a repeat clientele- this sure keeps me inspired.
My two top tips of advice would be-
Be original, be authentic.
RG- What have been the biggest highs in your artisanal bakery project and what is your vision for it in the future?
SM-Our regular and repeat customers, most of who have become friends and part of Paris my love family is the ultimate high.
The vision that I have for the brand is to be able to spread taste and brand authenticity far and wide and be able to educate people on the same along the way with our products taste speaking for itself and leading by example.
RG– You are said to be India’s First Certified Bakery, Pastry and Chocolate Expert from the Harvard of Bakery Schools Lenotre, France. Is this a big responsibility to showcase French pastries right in the Indian context?
SM– To be from the Mecca of pastry and baking and an institution of that acclaim and repute as such comes with a lot of responsibility indeed. And I walk this journey with gusto, commitment and passion each day to honour that sense of responsibility!
Chef Sahil Mehta, the brainchild behind Paris my love has over 22 years of experience in the food industry in India and France. He spent his childhood and early years growing up in Paris where he developed a strong liking for fine food and gourmet desserts eventually which he converted into his passion.
Chef Sahil Mehta has catered his desserts for many high profile weddings for the Ambanis and Reddys. He has won Pastry/ Bakery chef of the year for Artful Baker in 2015, he was the guest of honour and jury at the Magicka Bakers Awards 2017.
Now with Paris my love, he is concentrating on dessert caterings for weddings, baby showers, high teas, private parties, private chef tables and catering to individual discerning clients. Paris my love aims at creating a world-class pastry and bakery experience for the Indian audience.
Chef Sahil signed off by stating “Paris my love for me is my tribute to Paris in India. Our vision is to bring the best savoire faire francais to each Indian doorstep using the best and the topmost quality ingredients without any compromise on quality.”
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