Macarons, Business and Climbing Mount Fuji | The Pooja Dhingra Interview

The entrepreneur, and baker Pooja Dhingra in conversation with Shaili Chopra at Women Writers Fest, 2021 talks about her upcoming book Coming Homes

Kumari Purvi
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pooja dhingra shuts le 15
Pooja Dhingra is a professional chef, baker and a businesswoman. Ten years back, she opened her own venture Le15 and now supplies both fresh and packages bakery items in many cities in India. She had a love for baking since an age of six and this led her to study hospitality in Paris to make a career in the industry she loved the most. Pooja Dhingra in her sixth and recent book "Coming Home" deviates from general cookbook recipes and talks something more personal about her journey and how the pandemic that made her realise the importance of smaller things in life.

"I moved to Paris, ate my first macaroon, fell in love and decided that I must come back to India and try to do the same thing", said Dhingra in her interview with SheThePeople.

At our award winning series, Women Writers Fest, Pooja Dhingra talks about the pandemic, closing of her food and beverages business, her writing inspiration and new recipes in the upcoming book "Coming Home".

Inspiration For The Book:

Pooja is an avid reader and has spent major amount of her time from childhood in learning new things. As Pooja puts, "It is a realisation of my childhood dream". She loves being in the company of books. Earlier when she read recipe books, she wanted to have something in the book which explained her personally. She feels that when she writes the book, there are parts of heart that she leaves behind in the writings and her journey has been quite exciting till date.

When young girls who are aspiring to be bakers and love baking, who have tried her recipes, and recognise her in person for the book rather than just a presence on social media, she feels special seeing their enthusiasm.

Discover Within Inner Self:

What Pooja loves the most is simplicity in writing. She loves writing what she knows and writing exactly about her feelings. She tries to keep the writing as honest and vulnerable as possible so that it can touch the people. This helps her in connecting with the people who read the books. The books are an extension of her personality.

Her writing techniques is more raw and she feels that when she writes, it is like writing for herself. Whenever she reads her own pieces written some times ago, she feels as if they are too personal to be addressed to the public

About The Book "Coming Home":

When you read the recipes in isolation, you may not understand the entire story of who Dhingra is. When collated at a single place in the book and read in a wholesome manner, it describes journey of Dhingra since she was six years of age. The different recipes that she inherited from her grandma, from her mother, her favourite foods, things that made her lazy- It is not about the super difficult technical pastries but about the one that gave her joy while preparing.

Pooja believes that the years have been difficult and she wanted to find sense of joy, and these recipes were a source of joy to her. This inspired her to go forward and write this book. The process of existential crisis and questions that grilled her regarding life and what if everything she made during these years goes away, made her find the joy through this book.


Sharing The Vulnerabilities:

Dhingra shares that watching too much of Brene Brown has made her brave. She feels that all of us are present here to feel that human experience. Her mother is very spiritual and she feels that the entire perspective comes from the process of reliving who we really are. This makes the human existence beautiful. Building anything from ground is greatly challenging and requires huge efforts.

As she says, "I do not want to give impression to anybody that this has been easy". She wanted to be very clear regarding her journey and the process she underwent. She happily agrees to the fact that she took the chance and found the journey to be totally rewarding.

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Real Connections -

She believes that more the people understand you, they relate to you better. She does not feel that everything is perfect at all the times- that is an illusion of being perfect, crushing life, etc. and that is not how life carries on. So she feels that real connections are built through real writings which she also considers as a secret ingredient here.

Pooja's Writing And Reading Routine-

She needs a silence atmosphere to do the writing work. "In the middle of the night, when everyone is asleep, that's when most of my writing works are done", says Dhingra. The time when she can feel the rhythm to write and her flow into the pieces is better.

She used to read a lot while she grew up. While last few years, its more of a journey of entrepreneurship, self help etc. She has more or less stopped reading the fiction books which she loved earlier because most of her reading is concentrated more on non fiction(except Sally Rooney that she continues reading). She continues reading autobiographies and humor. However, her current read  Think Again by Adam Grante  is also challenging her belief system.

Wants To Pursue Stand Up Comedy-

She has been gifted a book by her friend which she aspires to read and use in her stand comedy act. However, she plans to climb Mount Fuji next year and planning to "sneak in an open mic show before that".

Pooja Dhingra has been associated with SheThePeople for long time and has been continuous touch for talks regarding her book, her journey and navigating the challenges by making herself a daily goal.

Watch the conversation here.



Pooja Dhingra women writers fest 2021