Interview with Pooja Dhingra, pastry chef, Le 15 Patisserie
I am a sucker for nostalgia, for trips down memory lane. And through my interview with ace pastry chef Pooja Dhingra I proved my theory that women, clothes and nostalgia are a strong connect. As she brought out the purple ruffled tunic to give me, Pooja’s first words were ‘I remember…’ And what followed is a story full of excitement, action and adrenaline. I only exaggerate a little bit. Pooja especially bought the New Look top to wear for new year’s eve in Paris in 2009. After celebrations with friends at her flat, at midnight they stepped out to watch the fireworks at the Eiffel Tower. “These men started bothering my girl friends and it soon started to go a bit out of hand. I had no choice but to whack them hard and get them to apologize,” she says grinning.
Pooja didn’t get to wear the top or whack misbehaving men again, but she recalls that night as clearly as the opening of her new stand-alone store in Bandra two weeks ago. And I am not surprised she remembers what she wore for every memorable occasion in her life, including her first date in 2005 with her now ex-boyfriend. “It was a cute black top with a bow,” she smiles. And she still has that top. The Fendi sunglasses were a gift from her parents on a family trip in Milan in 2006. “I used them a bit but later bought other sunglasses so they have not been used in a while.” Memories associated with the things are enough to hold on to them.
Between running her kitchen, stores at Palladium, Good Earth and Bandra, Pooja doesn’t find time to shop at leisure. So she leaves it for holidays abroad. She likes clothes but loves handbags. “The first bag I bought from my own money was a Dior after I completed my internship in Switzerland,” she says. The bags are still around but she purges her clothes every year before Diwali. “I give away the clothes to Cancer Foundation.” The top and sunglasses will be sold to someone who will love them as much as her and the proceeds will go to charity.