She’s best known for the macaroons of Le 15 Patisserie, but for Pooja Dhingra, setting up a baking studio was always part of the bigger picture. “I’ve been doing classes from my central kitchen since 2010, but I wanted to take that model and give it its own identity,” says Dhingra, who finally launched Studio Fifteen this month.
The roster features not just culinary classes by the likes of Gresham Fernandes and Nachiket Shetye, but even those dedicated to food writing, styling and photography. “The set-up is professional, but not intimidating. Our equipment isn’t industrial either; you can buy and take it home,” adds Dhingra. “We’re looking at more collaborations, pop-up dinners and events.” Studio Fifteen has already hosted some birthday parties, and come October 1, it will have a fully functional ingredient store.
Rakhee Vaswani set up Palate Culinary Studio in 2009 after a seven-year sabbatical. “I’d been conducting classes at home, but trends have changed. We rented out a small garage and there’s been no looking back,” she says. Claiming that today, her kids create their own mezze platters, Vaswani says that the growing awareness of ingredients and cuisines has led to the inclusion of all kinds of classes – even one called Survival, which teaches students who are going abroad to use canned food effectively.
Last month, Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal’s APB Cook Studio celebrated its first anniversary. “I’ve always wanted to do classes where students could get their hands dirty, not just watch. You need to make mistakes to learn properly,” she stresses, explaining the USP of the space. All set to launch an extensive world cuisine course next month, Ghildiyal says that her students now make their own pasta and also take the entire meal they’ve prepared home.
What does this mean for the home classes that have flourished so far? “There’s room for everyone, but some stuff can’t be done at home. There, if there are three others, you may not even get to stir a dish,” says Ghildiyal. Vaswani adds, “I think that trend is passé. I don’t know if people are attending such classes anymore, but we’ve created a very cute space and it’s doing great business.”