It’s the long drive back home each day, around 10.45 pm, that brand chef of the Artful Baker, Chef Sahil Mehta, really enjoys. But the thing he enjoys much more is baking his best-loved macaroons. They remind him of his early days, while he was still learning the art of making them; attempting tirelessly to get the crispy-chewy texture of these little French confections right. Secretly, he hopes they compare to well-known French pastry chef Pierre Herme’s macaroons, which, according to Mehta, are undoubtedly the best macaroons in the world. At the bakery, this artful dough puncher, also India’s first certified bakery, pastry and chocolate expert from Lenotre, France, is neck-deep into the task of getting it right, besides getting many other confectionery items up his sleeve. But, the macaroons continue to remain his greatest preoccupation.
Launched some time ago, this patisserie and boulangerie by Lite Bite Foods offers cakes, croissants, breads, sweet and savoury items. There’s an extensive range of breads, including multigrain, French peasant, whole wheat and more. “You also have things like Ham and Cheese Croissants, Whole Wheat Pesto Paneer and Chicken sandwiches, and more. Signature desserts are Lemon Tart, Double Chocolate Chip Muffin and Paris Brest,” says Mehta. Don’t forget the Chocolate, Raspberry and Salty Macaroons.
Seeing a dearth in quality bakery and pastry products in India, the chef deemed it right to open a shop that would realise the lack in the market. “I spent my childhood in France and would visit Delhi every six months for vacations. When here, I would often miss the smell of fresh, early morning bakes. That was an important reason to introduce this style and finesse of baking in the city,” says Mehta. The menu, he tells us, has been designed to give the patrons the feel of a true Parisian café, where people can come in and hang out with friends over inviting desserts and coffee. “I believe what pleases the eyes will please the palette too, and the best judge of that for me is my mother. She is my greatest admirer as well as my greatest critic. She often tells me I’ve done well, but she’ll also be vocal about the fact that I can do better. That keeps me going,” he says.