Pooja Dhingra is an Indian Pastry chef and a Businesswoman. She opened India`s first macaron store named ‘Le15 Patisserie’ in Mumbai in 2010.
She is also known by the name ‘Queen of Macarons.’
She has done her schooling at Bombay Scottish School, Mumbai.
She went to Jai Hind College to study commerce, and in 2004, she pursued a Hospitality and Management course at the César Ritz school in Le Bouveret, Switzerland. Pooja Dhingra- Linkedin Pooja hails from a family background that has always been into cooking. Her father and brother own a restaurant. Pooja had learned cooking from her aunt (Bua). She started studying law after she completed her graduation. She lost interest in law and went on to study hospitality. In 2008, she learned to make French pastries from Le Cordon Bleu school in Paris. BBC
When she was in Paris, she tasted macarons for the first time. She wanted to carry the taste of macarons to India. Once Pooja came back to India, she started trying her hands on macarons recipe. She failed many times because she had to use local Indian products in the recipe and the weather in India was different than in Paris. BBC
Height (approx.): 5′ 7″
Weight (approx.): 80 kg
Hair Colour: Brown
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Pooja`s father is a chef and his name is Jaikishan Dhingra.
Her mother`s name is Seema Dhingra and she is a Therapist & Healer.
She has one brother who is a Restaurateur and his name is Varun Dhingra.
In 2010, when Pooja made the final recipe for macarons, she started her business by opening the first macarons restaurant in Mumbai. The name of her restaurant is Le 15 Patisserie. She had only two chefs in her restaurant when she started the restaurant but now her staff has increased to more than 100. Her cafe now has three other branches in Good Earth, Lower Parel; Palladium Mall in Mumbai. She had written two cookbooks- ‘The big book of treats’ and ‘The Wholesome Kitchen.’
During the lockdown in 2020, she started her own podcast named ‘NoSugarCoat with Pooja.’
She started delivering DIY cake mixes, cookies, hot chocolate mix and Le 15 merch to people during the lockdown. In 2021, she wrote the book ‘Coming Home.’ She has also done advertising campaigns for Kwality Wall`s, Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, Surf Excel, Oreo, etc.
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- In 2019, she won the Mould-Breaker Of The Year Award by Grazia Magazine.
- In 2014, she was listed in the ‘30 Under 30’ achievers’ list by Forbes India.
- Forbes India listed her on the list of ’30 under 30′ Asia list.
- The first thing she baked when she was a child were brownies. According to her, that was the time she realized how simple ingredients can make difference in a dish.
- She loves to eat chocolate since her childhood.
- In an interview, Pooja shared what she learned in Switzerland and Paris. She said,
During my first year, I interned at a small family-run hotel (Villa Toscane). I was 18, had never been away from home alone and was doing the amount of work that usually six or seven people would typically do in India. Every morning, I would serve breakfast to dozens of people, wash up and start over again. I didn’t know a word of French and my boss knew no English. It was a nightmare. But by the time I was interning at a five-star hotel (Trois Couronne) in the final year, I had grown a lot more confident. I opted for housekeeping and my job involved changing some 60 beds and cleaning toilets. At some point, they recognised what I was doing and towards the end of my internship, I was going for meetings with my general manager and instructing people much senior to me.”
- Pooja used to question herself about why there were no macarons in India, and she came across only one reason that was that no one was aware of the dessert. She decided to build a career by making macarons.
- In one of her interviews, she said that the name of the cafe was kept on the building she was living in Paris. She lived in the 15th Arrondissement in Paris. BBC
- During the initial phase of her career, Pooja had to face gender- biases while renting a property or purchasing a machine. In an interview, she said that the sellers would often ask her to consult her elders like her father and brother. She further added,
Being a young girl in a male-dominated industry was not easy. Even finding suppliers or real estate agents that wanted to work with me was tough. As the years have gone by the challenges keep changing – from day to day operations to scaling a business. My education in Switzerland, and working in hotels there, gave me a good idea of what working in hospitality would be like, but dealing with the bureaucracy is extremely difficult when starting a business in India.”
- According to Pooja, travelling improves the way a person thinks. In an interview, she said that she makes time for travelling so that she could taste new recipes and upgrade her recipes.
- Pooja believes that social media has helped or increase her business.
- In her podcasts, Pooja invites her celebrity friends and talks about their struggles and their life.
- Pooja is friends with actresses Rhea Kapoor (Sonam Kapoor`s sister), Masaba Gupta, Sonam Kapoor, Pablo Naranjo Agular (Chef) etc.
- Pooja is often called by the name ‘Macaron Queen’. Talking about the title in an interview, she said,
I have no idea! I think it was a journalist who spoke to me five or six years ago, and who used the term, and then BBC and CNN and other media outlets started using it, and it just stuck. And of course, I didn’t fight it. When someone calls you a queen, you just take it.”
- She often posts about her love for Korean dramas. She posts pictures of herself making hearts with her fingers (a sign of love in Korea).
- According to Pooja, all young entrepreneurs should know how to manage the money and should always have finances ready with them.