Born in Kolkata, India, Garima was pursuing a career in investment banking back in India before taking a life-changing decision that took her to the Pastry Diploma at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. She tells us how this diploma led her to work for some of the biggest names in America, and eventually start her own business.
Interview with Garima Kothari
What made you want to study in this field?
Pastry is the art of creating beautiful creations consistently with the same recipe, if followed diligently.
I was always experimenting in the kitchen. I knew I had a knack for gastronomy, but I did not have the discipline and education. I auditioned for MasterChef India in 2010 and was selected amongst Top 15. After my stint at MasterChef India, I was convinced that I must study Pastry & Baking to master techniques & create recipes with uniformity every time, and I wanted to study this in France where it all originated.
What is your favourite memory from your adventure at Le Cordon Bleu Paris institute?
My favorite memory at Le Cordon Bleu is learning all about pastry while making friends from all over the globe and enjoying brilliant pastries pretty much everyday!
Could you tell us briefly about your career path?
After completing my MBA, I was working in an Investment Bank in India. After a while, I participated in Master Chef India, and I then decided to quit banking & pursue gastronomy in Paris.
After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu Paris, I went back to Florida, USA where I worked several jobs as a Pastry cook and Event planner. Soon I had to move to New York City and I got brilliant opportunities to work at various wonderful kitchens such as Dominique Ansel Bakery, The Modern, Dirt Candy, Vaucluse and then eventually I took on a job as the Events Manager at New York University. This was a fascinating job as it involved my knowledge of how to make recipes, manage a kitchen, manage staff scheduling and to top it all, I would be dealing directly with big names in the society, curating multiple events for celebrities such as the Clinton family, Melinda Gates, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cher, Deepak Chopra, Zakir Hussain… I was in charge of creating events and catering proposals, negotiating with vendors, discussing with clients, developing recipes and managing events in real time.
This exposure gave me the confidence and motivation to start my own business- whereby I am a Food Consultant to various multi nationals and corporates. My business is inclusive of providing services such as catering, event planning, food photography, recipe development, videography, restaurant consultation, continuing culinary education, etc.
What advice would you give to future students?
Le Cordon Bleu provides excellent technical skills along with access to the best ingredients & equipments. Students should take this knowledge and put it to use at their jobs with diligence. Also, even though working in a kitchen can be hard, do not forget to make friends with everyone you work with- including all cooks, chefs, dish washers and vendors.
Each relationship counts when you are trying to create a name in this world.
Where are you now? Could you describe your new life?
I own a food consultancy business in New York City. My business is inclusive of providing services such as catering, event planning, food photography, recipe development, videography, restaurant consultation, continuing culinary education, etc.