In an email interaction with Restaurant India, Dhawal Shah, Chief Patissier, The Dessert Street, talks about his journey in the patisserie industry.
Starting his journey as a self taught home baker, Shah experienced a lot of difficulties in the initial stage as he lacked proper equipment and knowledge in his kitty. Therefore, to enhance his knowledge, he decided to pursue his higher education in learning about this particular industry. After returning to India post the completion of his course, Shah decided that it is the perfect time for him to step into this industry and serve lip smacking desserts. Excerpts from the interview:
How did the idea of establishing your own venture pop up in your mind?
Coming from an entrepreneurial background, I was pretty sure that I wanted to start my own venture where I could do my own experiments with combinations. After completing my education, I came back to India and apprenticed for six months with a brand which allowed me to get familiar with the ingredients available in the country. I quit my job in order to start my own kitchen where I could develop recipes which would satisfy the Indian palate. Establishing my own venture led to creating my own recipes and lot of unique flavors.
When did you realize that patisserie is the industry where you want to create something of your own?
While studying in London, I realized that my true calling was in the field of patisserie. The flavors and textures of products were just mind boggling. The precision required in making pastry intrigued me and the vast array of flavors that can be used to create a dessert was an additional benefit to the whole experience.
What is the story behind naming it as The Dessert Street?
The name stemmed from the sense of wonderment that filled me each time I walked down the famed Khau-gallis of the city and tasted the authentic preparations by home chefs from across the country. This encouraged me to bring my own versatile take on dishes.
What’s your take on the rising interest of the people towards desserts and patisseries in the food industry?
People's interest towards high quality desserts and patisseries is increasing every year because they are figuring out the difference in the qualities available in the market. The restaurant industry in India is growing nearly 7-8% per year and people don’t mind shelling out that extra money for something which is really exquisite and delicious.
What are the experiences you are providing to this outlet as a former pastry chef from Le Cordon Bleu?
As a pastry chef from Le Cordon Bleu we are trying to provide a lot of intricate desserts at our patisserie. We do Entremets which are multi layered and multi textured cakes which provide a wide range of flavors and textures. We also do Artisan Bonbons which are soft or liquid centered chocolate moulded in various shapes , colors and designs.
The menu showcases a lot of varieties to offer from. Tell us something about it.
We offer a lot of variation to our clients. We make Entremets, Bonbons, Truffles, tarts, Nut Spreads which are all made in our kitchen without any preservatives. We have chosen products which are quite unique in the market and want the audience to be aware of these products.
You have been working towards cultivating an eclectic mix of desserts. What’s your take on this?
We don't want to restrict our brand to a particular type of product. We want it to be like a one stop Gourmet Patisserie where you can get whatever you desire. We will soon be launching artisan breads in addition to all our desserts.
What are the various kinds of challenges you faced while being in this industry?
We face a lot of challenges in the current market. Firstly, competing with already established brands and to make people shift from one brand to another is a tough challenge. Secondly, there are a lot of hidden overheads which are faced and that causes the products also to be expensive which affects the overall sales.
What are your expansion plans?
We will soon be looking to grow in the retail segments and try providing people a proper space where they can purchase our products. Currently, we only do made-to -order desserts. We are looking at pan India growth in the coming years.