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Alumna Zareen Shaikh
Diplôme de Pâtisserie

In 2012, Zareen Shaikh joined the ranks of Le Cordon Bleu London's first batch of students at the Bloomsbury Square institute, undertaking the Diplôme de Pâtisserie programme. This marked the beginning of her journey into the world of culinary arts and pastry, igniting a passion that continues to drive her forward to this day.

Zareen is a consultant and has been a pastry teacher for the last ten years, in 2023 she competed in and gained 4th position at the 7th World Tapas Competition in Spain, representing India.

We caught up with Zareen to find out more about her culinary journey.

What made you decide to train in the culinary arts?

“I have always been interested in baking from a young age. The aroma of freshly baked cake has always been soothing to me. I loved preparing cakes for my friends and family. So, after completing my graduation in Mass Media, I figured out my true calling was in pastry, and hence I decided to pursue professional training in it.”

Why did you choose to come to Le Cordon Bleu London?

“Le Cordon Bleu is a well-known culinary school that needs no introduction. Most students who aspire to study culinary arts dream of attending Le Cordon Bleu, and such was the case for me. London is renowned as a culinary mecca. When choosing the city, I had the option between Paris and London. London seemed more convenient due to the absence of a language barrier. Additionally, the city is vibrant and welcoming. Therefore, Le Cordon Bleu London became my choice.”

How did your culinary training studying at Le Cordon Bleu London help you to start your career?

“As a beginner, the knowledge of ingredients and techniques shared by our instructors was invaluable in preparing me for the professional world. The programme was entirely professional, which I appreciated, and it helped shape my outlook on how I wanted to proceed in the industry. Over the years, I realized that my foundation was much stronger. I gained confidence in the flavours and techniques I used in my day-to-day professional work.”

What advice would you give to someone looking to follow in your footsteps?

“Professional training plays a significant role in shaping your personality and boosting confidence. I highly encourage aspiring bakers to embrace experimentation in baking, exploring new flavors and techniques. There's an endless world of discovery awaiting. Dedicate time to reading and practicing extensively, as practice is the key to perfecting your craft!”

What does Le Cordon Bleu represent for you in a few words?

“Nostalgia always overwhelms me whenever I'm in London; visiting Le Cordon Bleu is a must. It reignites the beautiful memories of my days as a young student, learning something new every day at school. I strive to infuse my cakes with the same sense of classic tradition that I cherished during my time there.”

How did you get into your current role?

“I found immense fulfillment in passing on my knowledge. The experience of training at Le Cordon Bleu under skilled chefs ignited a passion for teaching within me. Currently, I work as a full-time instructor and consultant, where I derive immense satisfaction from sharing my expertise and exploring new dessert creations. I find fulfillment in imparting my expertise and experimenting with desserts and innovative creations, which led me to embrace this dual role.”

What does your day-to-day look like?

“My daily routine is quite diverse. Throughout half of the week, I'm engrossed in trials and experimentation, constantly working on new recipe creations. Hailing from India, where there's a notable demand for eggless baking, I immerse myself in developing recipes sans gelatin and eggs, a challenging yet immensely rewarding endeavor. The remaining days are dedicated to sharing these creations with my students, guiding them through the intricacies of various techniques and flavors. It's a harmonious blend of innovation and education that keeps me deeply engaged and fulfilled.”

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

“The most challenging aspect of my job, being in India, is crafting desserts without eggs and gelatin. Over the past eight years, I've honed this skill successfully, training numerous professionals and assisting in setting up patisserie menus. The ultimate goal is to create desserts that not only look appealing but also taste exquisite. This delicate balance between aesthetics and flavour is undeniably challenging. However, witnessing my students excel after imparting the same knowledge is incredibly rewarding.”

What part of the role are you most passionate about?

“I am particularly passionate about the creative process of dessert recipe development. There's an unparalleled thrill in crafting and perfecting new recipes during my trials. Seeing my students apply these recipes and techniques to their own ventures and receiving recognition for their creations fills me with immense happiness and satisfaction.”

Do you have anything exciting coming up in the future?

“Absolutely! This year marks a significant milestone for me after 10 years of teaching—I'm finally poised to take the next big step of opening a patisserie in Mumbai. I'm thrilled at the prospect of sharing the amazing desserts I've been developing for my clients. This has been a dream of mine for years, and I'm delighted and excited to see it come to fruition after years of recipe development. While we're currently in the initial stages of planning, I'm hopeful that we'll be ready to launch by the year's end.”

Inspired by Zareen's journey? Find out how you can follow in her footsteps by finding out more about our Diplôme de Pâtisserie, or by visiting our programmes page to view the full list of courses available and start your culinary journey today.