Follow the Foodie, Must-reads

Blog. Bake. Beam – A Peek into Purple Foodie’s Culinary Journey

18 Jan , 2016  

She’s following her dream; travelling between Mumbai, Paris and London; honing her craft with guidance from international gurus like her Michelin-starred mentor, Alain Ducasse; and wowing gourmands in all three cities with her passion for food. She co-founded the Paris-based pop-up Friday Lunches and London-based pop-up Atelier Quinzième and has worked as a pastry chef at Michelin-starred Lyle’s in Shoreditch, London. In Mumbai, she teaches classes to other passionate bakers. In fact, her slots for her February workshops are filling fast.

A gorgeous looking chocolate and hazelnut pastry baked by Shaheen

A gorgeous looking chocolate and hazelnut pastry baked by Shaheen.

But despite crazy success at a young age, a lethal combination of skills and talent, and hobnobbing with culinary hotshots has surprisingly, not made her arrogant or full of herself. She’s managed to stay as accessible, humble and honest as when she began blogging, teaching and studying  about food; a pretty sweet blend in a rising gastronomic star.

She laughs when asked about how she juggles crazy schedules and hectic travel, while managing to stay on top of things (she stays abreast of the latest food trends, attends classes, writes and photographs her experiences, all while simultaneously planning, promoting and publicizing various ventures). “Oh, you make me sound like a super-woman! I think it comes down to the fact that the lines between work and play are so blurred; it’s a pleasure to just keep doing things I enjoy. I’m fortunate to be able to call this my work.

Shaheen doing what she does best.

Shaheen is extremely passionate about her work. That smile says it all.

We discuss the current scenario of how everybody these days is a self-appointed food critic and she agrees vehemently, “It’s amazing how everybody has an opinion on food. Give someone a free meal, and you’re bound to see reviews extolling it. It’s cheap and sad, and readers can through see it. Honesty established, a food writer should be passionate to share the organoleptic properties of food through their words.”

She goes on to suggest that if you wish to be a good food writer, you should, “Work on seasoning your palate. Expose yourself to new ideas through travel. Write a lot. Read even more. Follow the works of food critics around the world. The words will follow.”

She should know. Her blog has a huge fan following and she’s been the food editor of BBC Good Food Magazine. Moreover, when she wanted to realize her dream of studying cooking, she won prestigious scholarships from The James Beard Foundation and The Culinary Trust, both in America, extremely hard to grab and highly coveted by food enthusiasts the world over. But what truly makes her happy is teaching what she’s learned, to fellow foodies, purple or not. And she loves having evolved as a teacher thanks to her studies and experiences abroad.

From the simple classes she taught before leaving for Paris, where people learned recipes that she’d featured on her blog of cookies and brownies, she’s graduated to more elaborate recipes with a focus on techniques like French tarts and choux pastry. She advocates elevating even simple recipes by using interesting ingredients and creative flavour pairings. Her upcoming workshops promise to be THE place to learn about pairing textures and flavours harmoniously to create the stuff you see in Parisian patisseries.

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A sybaritic shape-shifter, who switches from high priestess to worshipper depending on the ingredient, cuisine, chef or food trend that catches her fancy. If you’re keen on honing all your senses to better appreciate the good life, join her on her culinary quests.




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