Chef Dev Dhanda – writing a new pastry saga


HospiBuz:- What inspired you to enter the world of desserts

Dev Dhanda:- Being from a Punjabi household, food was synonymous with growing up. Sweets too were a big part of me growing up, be it my father bringing sweets at the end of a workday or seeing my mother and grandmother whip up mouth-watering cakes and gajar ka halwa. it was something that was always there. It was only a matter of time that I picked up the whisk at the age of 12 and started baking, only to find my passion in it and comfort knowing this is what made me happy. I always felt that the pastry arts was my calling. When I decided to go professional I enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America to learn pastry arts.

HospiBuz:- Being a Pastry Chef you have worked with famous bakeries Please tell us how is the bakery items coordinated Are they prepared a night before or in the morning itself

Dev Dhanda:- Pastry work is very different from its counterpart i.e. the savoury side. Most pastry items need advance preparation in order for the product to be sellable. No matter the scale of the operations large or small items are being prepared continuously for the next day. Coordination is a very important aspect of the kitchen to ensure an even and seamless workflow. If the setup is large the store coordinates the required stock with the base kitchen via requisition forms over emails sent a day before which then is assembled the next morning for delivery, a smaller set up is more likely to keep a physical sheet of the number of items required for production.

HospiBuz:- Working both at Paowalla and Theobroma must have given you different experiences Chef¨ please tell us¨ what is the difference in Hospitality ethics in India and abroad

Dev Dhanda:- They indeed were very different experiences, that taught me much. Of course, the hospitality industry differs slightly from here to abroad, however, the differences today with respect to ethics be it India or abroad are very few, due to the influx of foreign-trained chefs coming back to India and setting up their projects brings a whole new dimension of professionalism and ethics. Today with globalization and internationalization of food and customers becoming more aware of the subtle difference of the various dishes, thus coursing businesses to adopt more ethical practices like fair dealing, customer service, and satisfaction, if a business is lax on ethics today it is severely detrimental only to the business or service provider as the customers have many options to choose from and are dictating the terms today.

HospiBuz:- You have done your culinary education from America¨ Chef please tell us¨ what unique are you trying to depict in Indian world of desserts through Dessert ala

Dev Dhanda:- The Culinary Institute Of America in New York provided me with a strong foundation in pastry arts and the various kitchens gave me the experience. Based on this education and experience, Through Dessert ala I want to bring about an educated change to the Indian dessert scene, showcasing just how vast and diverse pastry can be, beyond just waffles and pancakes. Currently, at Dessert ala we are modernizing all the classic desserts that one might have grown up with we also are reintroducing products like the eclair and giving it the attention it deserves. Providing a balance between the flavour and the aesthetic appeal that comes with a dessert. Dessert ala is a platform to bring this ideology to the Indian palette. For the future, I plan to introduce the concept of fusion desserts.

HospiBuz:- How different are the equipment and techniques of baking in American and India

Dev Dhanda:- The pastry boom in India is relatively new and compared to America still in its infancy. Chefs from the world over flock to the US as it is a melting pot of cultures and culinary ideas pushing chefs to pick up ideas and get inspired and developing new techniques and implementing said techniques to experiment, enabling pure experimental dishes to become showstoppers like the cronut invention. There still is an abundant amount of both equipment and technique that still needs to find its way to India. Good equipment is still very expensive and not easily available, its getting there though… Pastry techniques do vary but the bases remain the same.Pastry techniques used in India are still primitive, this is due to the demand of basic products being higher than that for innovative pastries.

HospiBuz:- What is your take on the trend of Naked cakes and Glitter Cakes in the bakery industry

Dev Dhanda:- I see naked cakes as a game changer with health-conscious clients on the rise asking for cakes with less frosting, naked cakes have truly been a blessing it also gives chefs changes to showcase their skill and precision with exposing the layers of the cake even before they are cut. Glitter cakes I feel are more show over functionality unlike naked cakes. Glitters are made from minerals and metals (supposedly foodsafe) which look beautiful on the cake but alas it is food to be consumed ! Do you want to put metals in your body?

HospiBuz:- Gluten free¨ sugar free¨ lactose free and healthy confectionery concepts were known in America way before India What new trends and concepts do you see rising coming in India

Dev Dhanda:- Keto is one very popular concept that has caught on in recent times. Alternative concepts like using Aquafina instead of egg whites for certain applications has also been widely trending.


HospiBuz:- What is the first thing that you do when you enter a Kitchen

Dev Dhanda:-Switch the oven on and clean my station



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