Having graduated with a Diplôme de Pâtisserie from Le Cordon Bleu London in 2012, Chef Rachel Goenka has since developed several restaurants and cafes in Mumbai and Pune including House of Mandarin and The Sassy Spoon. Rachel is also the author of Adventures with Mithai which recently won the Gourmand Award for the best pastry and dessert book in the world.
How has studying at Le Cordon Bleu London helped you develop your career?
"I think Le Cordon Bleu definitely helped me get my foundations right and it helped me to develop a lot of the finishing touches, especially where pastry was concerned. It gave me the confidence to go out and start my own pâtisserie brand and also venture out into restaurateuring using those techniques. So it's definitely been a big, big help in my career."
Why did you decide to come to Le Cordon Bleu in London in particular?
"Well, I love London. London's one of my favourite cities and I've been visiting London even before I live there for my studies. I think London is just so diverse and it's such a melting pot of so many different cultures, which is reflected in the food scene in London. I think what I miss the most is the lobster brioche rolls from Chiltern Firehouse."
What have you been up to since graduating?
"Since graduating with my diploma in 2012, I'm now the founder and CEO of the Chocolate Spoon Company, which owns brands such as The Sassy Spoon, Sassy Teaspoon, House of Mandarin, Baraza and Wicked China. I'm also the author of Adventures with Mithai, which was published by HarperCollins in October last year."
Definitely follow your passion; you never know where it's going to take you
What advice would you give to anyone looking to follow in your footsteps?
"Definitely go for it. If you're passionate about food, truly passionate about it, whether it's sweet or savoury, you should definitely follow your passion; you never know where it's going to take you."
What's your greatest culinary achievement?
"My greatest culinary moment would probably be my debut book, Adventures with Mithai, winning the Gourmand Award for the best pastry and dessert book in the world."
What would you make as a quick meal to rustle up?
"I love bread and butter pudding, so I think that's something quick and easy that I would definitely bake, but meal wise, I think it would have to be a really simple pasta with just some nuts and some really good herbs... like an Aglio e Olio style pasta."
What's your essential cupboard item and your one must-have herb or spice?
"So if I had to have one essential cupboard item, I think it would have to be vanilla. Because I love vanilla.
"If I had to choose one herb or spice, I think it would have to be cinnamon because it's one of these versitile spices that you can use for both sweet and savoury."
You can find Rachel's restaurants in Mumbai and Pune:
Want to follow the same route Rachel took? Find out more about the Diplôme de Pâtisserie and all our other culinary courses on our programmes page