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A studio space by chef Sneha Singhi

Le Studio is a workshop space that also hosts events

By Saionee Chakraborty

  • Published 19.01.20, 7:11 PM
  • Updated 19.01.20, 7:11 PM
Sneha with the pasta platters outside Le Studio by Sneha Singhi that’s just two months old, located at 102A Ballygunge Place, next to Patha Bhavan. You can reach them at 9330937653 and @lestudiobysnehasinghi2 on Instagram
Sneha with the pasta platters outside Le Studio by Sneha Singhi that’s just two months old, located at 102A Ballygunge Place, next to Patha Bhavan. You can reach them at 9330937653 and @lestudiobysnehasinghi2 on Instagram Pabitra Das

Paris Cafe girl Sneha Singhi is plating up some more delicious dishes, this time at a new address — Le Studio by Sneha Singhi, a workshop space that also hosts events. The pretty chef chatted with The Telegraph on what’s cooking.

Was the workshop idea born out of your experience of hosting a TV show?

A lot of people actually kept coming to the cafe and asking when or where could I do workshops or if it’s even possible to do workshops at all and I always have loved to teach pastry and food because I’m so very passionate about it.

I have done a lot of workshops outside Calcutta and a few at my own cafes but I wasn’t very satisfied because I believe in teaching hands-on completely. So that’s where the idea began. I wanted to have a small place where I could teach a bunch of people and give them 100 per cent attention and actually make them learn what they’ve come to learn.

Of course when the TV show (Bake Diaries for Food Food TV) happened, I got more confident about talking about food and what I love because that is something I never did before at the cafes. I was usually just cooking for people and never really talking about my food. And I feel after opening my studio, it’s become easier for me to talk to people and explain how to make it work (in terms of recipes and food). TV definitely did make me open up and give me the exposure to express what I wanted to say freely.

A scene from the pasta workshop that The Telegraph dropped by for
A scene from the pasta workshop that The Telegraph dropped by for Pabitra Das

Why didn’t you explore it before?

I was so busy opening cafes one after another and then I realised that I was mostly doing back-end work, and accounts and stuff which I dread. I wasn’t needed in the kitchen as much… my staff is doing a brilliant job taking care of everything with very little help from me. I missed being in the kitchen and making things on a regular basis.

That was definitely the first reason. The other reason was that so many people wanted to start learning more about food and I feel like I have a lot of wisdom to share when it comes to things like this because I have learnt so much from so many acclaimed chefs, and knowledge should be shared. Also, so many people are interested in food and they just don’t know where they can learn. Obviously there are videos they can see online and TV channels that they can follow but they will learn a lot of recipes by doing it completely hands-on. It is a total game changer and that was something that I found very interesting and wanted to start as soon as possible.

You have also taken up a space for workshops. Tell us about the new studio…

My new studio is like a new part of Paris Cafe or a new part of me and it is so homely and cosy and it can easily accommodate about nine to 10 people who can learn directly from me. They can prepare the food with the recipes that I show them and take everything back home and also ask as many questions that they have while making it themselves. I plan on hosting a lot of chefs from all over the country to do workshops here, which will be completely hands-on because you just learn so much more when you’re doing it yourself… it’s so different from demo classes.

We also host birthday parties and different kinds of cool events and we have a lot lined up for the year, which is super exciting. You can also rent the place for your parties.

They are open workshops…

They’re all open workshops and no one needs any prior cooking experience or skills. Everything is taught in-house by my assistant chefs and me and it’s very easy to learn. We encourage kids coming in. There is no age limit at all. Anyone and everyone who wants to learn how to cook can just drop in. We have about four classes a week approximately and they’re all very different from each other.

"I ask everyone to get on to Instagram and send us a message on what class they want to do or just directly call us up and I’d love to host it," says Singhi Pabitra Das

What all have you tried at the workshops?

We’ve done choux pastry, bread-making, handmade pasta, sweet and savoury pies, basic cakes, egg-less baking, Mexican food, baking for your dogs, healthy baking, sugar-free, gluten and dairy-free desserts.

And, like I said, we’ve hosted birthday parties for kids and bridal showers which is so much fun because you can just come in with your friends and make things and try them yourself. I had also given out the place to my parents to do this fun cookout which was really amazing because barely any of the guys knew how to cook and some of them were doing it for the first time and the results were just brilliant.

I called in my friends and made them cook as well and they now think that they can become chefs, which is hilarious but I’m happy that I made them realise that!

Did those Instagram videos help you in honing your hosting skills?

Yes 100 per cent they did. I really wish that I could continue doing them but because of so much going on at the moment, I’ve stopped but I’m going to start soon. I want to start shooting those videos at my studio itself because people really enjoyed it. It was good to see so many people trying out my recipes and them turning out so well. So just imagine if they could do it watching my videos online, how good would it be if they came in for a class and actually made it here and then went back home with all the details and could keep making it again and again!

What all do you plan to try?

Anything and everything… we are completely open to ideas, anyone who has anything to pitch to us… we accept all kinds of requests. So I ask everyone to get on to Instagram and send us a message on what class they want to do or just directly call us up and I’d love to host it.

Someone just recently pitched us an idea to do a boozy dessert class and that sounded so exciting and we are totally going to organise that one very soon. Also like Masterchef mystery box cookout and stuff... really sounds cool and fun and is something that we are totally up to doing. Every week in fact we have different workshops, and every single one of them is different from the other. Of course there are some repeats as we can only accommodate a limited number of people at one time. I also plan on doing bartending courses, staff-training programmes and team-building workshops.

And, you will be back on Food Food TV channel soon. What can we expect?

I’m going to be doing Bengali cuisine, which is so exciting because I absolutely love my Bengali food and this is the first time I’ve actually shot anything else but international cuisine, so I’m very excited for this one and I promise that it’s going to be something to look forward to. A lot of those recipes I have learnt from my friends’ mothers and tried them at their houses and it’s always been so so so yum… so I’m so excited to be making it for everyone on TV… so that they can easily make all these dishes back at their houses all over India.

What is your food dream for 2020?

I’d ideally want to use a lot more sustainable products in my cooking, including many locally sourced ingredients. Also, I’m really exploring veganism and I’m planning on starting a whole new line of vegan products at Paris Cafe and FitMeals (fresh on-the-go meals). We’ve already started making our cheeses, sauces, breads and desserts.

What is your dessert for 2020?

Desserts with more grains, nuts, seeds and no refined sugar... healthy and delicious options.