Sanjana Patel of La Folie, a French patisserie nestled in one of the alleys in Kala Ghoda, has an illustrious résumé. Right after a stint at Le Cordon Bleu, London, she bagged an apprenticeship with Pierre Hermé, often referred to as the ‘Picasso of Pastry’. Following which, she worked with the likes of Emmanuel Ryon (of the famous Café Pouchkine in Paris) and Jean-Charles Rochoux.
Adding another feather to her cap, Patel was recently crowned The Pastry Queen of India, at the first-ever national championship held in Gurgaon. For the theme, Art of Dance, Patel created an artistic guitar showpiece made out of glistening blown sugar, one of the most difficult techniques used in sculpting. Eight pastry chefs from across the country were nominated following a rigorous screening process.
Patel will now represent India and fight it out for the title of The Pastry Queen, at the World Lady Pastry Championship, to be held in Rimini, Italy, in January 2016. “This is the first time India has been invited to participate in the world championship,” says Patel, who has also worked with Alain Ducasse at his three-star Michelin restaurant, Plaza Athénée, Paris. At most kitchens abroad, Patel would be the only Indian, she says, much to the amazement of her colleagues.
For the world competition, Patel will be mentored by the Academy of Pastry Arts India (Gurgaon) who will train her in techniques like sculpting and getting the texture of desserts right. “Most participants will create something around the theme of ballet or acrobatic dance,” says Patel, who plans to play with themes centered on Indian dance forms. “We have a rich culture of dance and music. I will highlight motifs like Natraja, the god of dance,” she says, hoping that this will give her an edge over other contestants.
Patel’s entry that won her the title
Patel's third outlet, La Folie Lab, opens in the first week of September. The 750 sqft space will feature a herb garden and an al fresco section. She plans to dish out her popular croissants, tarts and quiches apart from a dynamic dessert menu. Libra Towers, Hill Road, Bandra (W)