With a passion for food, Chef Vidushi Sharma made it to the coveted Le Cordon Bleu, London. Upon her return, the culinary expert brought with her fine pastry skills that led to the launch of Truffle & Co, a dessert brand that specialises in artisanal hand-rolled truffles. We speak to the gourmand and globetrotter about food cultures around the world and her dream come true. By Debomita De
Travel + Leisure India: How would you describe your journey from Delhi to Le Cordon Bleu, London?
Chef Vidushi Sharma: I discovered Le Cordon Bleu in the seventh grade. Ever since I learned about it, it became a bucket list item for me. I was lucky enough to enroll right after my graduation and I’ve never looked back! The original plan was to do law but deep down I always knew I’d do something related to the culinary arts. It was equal parts exciting and challenging, and the skill set I’ve picked up from there is something that will always stay with me.
Travel + Leisure India: You launched Truffle & Co in 2019 and Mensho Tokyo in 2020. Tell us about how the two brands were conceptualised and executed.
Chef Vidushi Sharma: Both the brands have had very different beginnings. Truffle & Co came out of mine and my partner Tanya’s passion for minimalistic luxury. As a chef, it was the canvas I needed to play around with a myriad of flavours in one single product. Mensho has been a global chain and ramen is a growing food trend. The product is so strong and unique that we didn’t have a doubt about its success in India.
Travel + Leisure India: What was your inspiration to venture into patisserie?
Chef Vidushi Sharma: I’ve always lived on the sweeter side of things. The comfort I feel in the techniques and specifics of patisserie add to that passion. Most people get intimidated by how detailed patisserie is—how everything needs to be weighed out, temperature controlled, its techniques and how there’s barely any room for error. But all this adds a lot of structure to my life and leaves me free to play with flavours, textures and colours. Pastry is also a huge part of any celebration and I love the feeling that I can have a role to play in someone’s special moments.
Travel + Leisure India: Apart from France, which other countries do you think have taken a keen interest in patisserie?
Chef Vidushi Sharma: Most of Europe is extremely advanced in patisserie; I wouldn’t limit it to France. On this side of the globe, I would say Dubai and Japan are also quite hands-on.
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Travel + Leisure India: During your travels, what similarities and differences have you noticed in food cultures across the globe compared to that of India?
Chef Vidushi Sharma: Every cuisine has its own nuances around the globe and each country can have different specialities depending on the area you’re in. But there’s no country like India that has so many cuisines! All our states have their own distinct cuisines and that’s what makes us stand out. In terms of food culture, ingredients get such different treatments around the world and yet they shine through. A makki ki roti isn’t very different from a Mexican corn tortilla, but the accompaniments are all different!
Travel + Leisure India: Tell us about a country that has culinary potential but remains underrated?
Chef Vidushi Sharma: I think Vietnamese food has so much untapped potential—beyond the usual Phở that we’re all aware of—that the world hasn’t woken up to yet Vietnamese cuisine is heavily influenced by it’s French colonists and French-Vietnamese bistros serve the most amazing fusion food. Even Vietnamese street food, sandwiches (bánh mì), baguettes and eggs are so rich in flavour, thanks to their sauces. Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk is also a great way to enjoy coffee.
Travel + Leisure India: What are your opinions on food sustainability and how do you take care of food wastage at your outlets?
Chef Vidushi Sharma: I’m proud to say that the Truffle & Co kitchen is completely zero-waste and we’re striving for the same at Mensho Tokyo. I personally am a big champion of sustainability in all spheres of life, especially food. All businesses should strive to be sustainable if they want to be around in the long-term. We try to use all parts of the fruits and vegetables that come to our kitchens, and source from organic and ethical vendors.
Travel + Leisure India: Tell us about your most memorable gastronomic adventure.
Chef Vidushi Sharma: Too many to count! But if I had to pick one, it would be my last visit to Balagan Paris. The chef pays homage to his Jewish heritage and I haven’t felt so much emotion through food. It’s a nostalgic trip to a culture and era that was; a political statement through food that makes you ache for the chef and his roots. Each ingredient was treated like royalty and the wine paired with it was phenomenal.
Travel + Leisure India: Your top five French pastries?
Chef Vidushi Sharma: I’m quite a classic French patisserie fan! It would have to be Mille-feuille, Fraisier, Opera, St. Honoré cake, and Paris-Brest.
Travel + Leisure India: What is your preferred cuisine and why?
Chef Vidushi Sharma: I have too many favourite dishes spread through various cuisines! But recently I’ve started making my own pizza at home and I’m a tad obsessed. I feel it’s [because of] the freedom to play with so many flavour combinations in a set pattern!
Related: Meet Rohit Ghai: The Michelin-Starred Chef Putting India On The Global Map