Chef Sandhya Seshadri gave up her professional career to follow her dreams of being an entrepreneur and today she bakes delectable eclairs.
To follow your heart is something that is easier said than done. After all it requires a lot of passion and also a sense of practicality to go down that trajectory. And Sandhya Seshadri did exactly that when she gave up a plush corporate job to become a baker.
Sandhya did her schooling in St. Helenas Pune and her graduation from Fergusson College. After graduation she moved to Mumbai to do her post-graduation in Advertising and Marketing from XIC. A self-confessed enthusiastic advertising and marketing graduate, she joined an advertising firm and stayed in the field for 12 years. “I worked on brands like Kingfisher airlines, Tata AIG, Garnier Color Naturals, Fructis, Unilever – Walls Ice Cream for India and Pakistan, Lipton Ice tea, Marico, Margo, TBZ to name a few. I have always loved advertising as it has the power to create positive perceptions for a brand in the eyes of the consumer,” she reminisces. However baking was something that she was always interested in. “I was always fascinated with the world of baking, so I started with very basic recipes like cookies and brownies. I even went for weekend classes to learn more about it. The science behind it excited me the most, how sugar, butter and egg along with flour reacted with each other, adding a bit of baking soda made the cake super fluffy and how temperatures of something as basic as the butter made a world of difference to the end result.” This is also why she kept continually researching about the Le Cordon Bleu courses but admits that she could not muster the courage to quit her job and take that next step. “In 2017 I decided to take a sabbatical and go for the course. The entire experience changed the way I looked at desserts. Desserts for me were no longer just limited to cookies, cakes and brownies. I came across an array of unique and delicate desserts such as entremets, charlotte cakes, choux pastries and many more.”
Sandhya started her own venture L’Eclair Studio in December 2017 with the aim to popularise eclairs in India. “We currently have 15 Éclair flavours and 10 Éclair tart flavours, although our products can be highly customized as per the flavours and colours requested by the clients. Éclairs are a blank canvas. The only limitation is your imagination. Take any fruit and you can create an Éclair out of it. Éclairs actually defy boundaries. They cross over from sweet to savoury. An Éclair is just the shape and not the filling. It is a beautiful cylinder made from Choux pastry that is waiting for your imagination to take over. Our USP is our tarts and cakes in the shape of eclairs. Also, the novel flavours we offer, for instance, this Diwali we have curated a hamper inspired by the traditional dry fruit box.”
Sandhya is also clear that she wants her products to follow the principles of sustainability. “At L’Eclair Studio we try to use high quality products that have been sourced locally. We also make sure that we only bake as per the amount of orders we have keeping the wastage to a minimum. I want to make eclairs a household name as widely known as cupcakes and macaroons.” For someone who loves reading books, shed constantly challenges herself by researching to improve on her baking skills and capabilities. “Due to my love for travel I have managed to extensively cover countries like Vietnam, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Prague and many more. Offbeat coffee shops, museums, local food markets are a must visit in my to-do lists during my travels. Being a certified scuba diver, I try going on dives whenever possible. The next step for the brand is to have our own dessert space in Mumbai,” she signs off.
This story first appeared in Sakal Times dated Oct 31, 2019 here: