The great chef’s life in Delhi.
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
This is the closest The Delhi Walla could get to the legendary author of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I’m standing within a touching distance of a woman who walks the same stairs that the great Julia Child used to walk.
Liter Basar is a bakery scholar at Le Cordon Bleu, the prestigious cooking school in Paris where Julia Child learned French cuisine. I catch Ms Basar at her home in Delhi’s Hazrat Nizamuddin East just in time– she is flying back to Charles de Gaulle tomorrow afternoon by Air India. Ms Basar is in town on a brief holiday to be with her husband, Apurva, her little son, Tojar, and her dogs, Whisky and the scary Rufus.
“Paris is the world’s loveliest city,” she swoons cheerily in the kitchen and starts to hum Édith Piaf’s iconic song La Vie en rose. Ms Basar seems to be very romantic. She even has the word ‘Love’ tattooed on her finger (gossip: Ms Basar had to elope to marry the love of her life, now her husband).
Although she is thousands of miles away from her school, Ms Basar is wearing her Cordon Bleu’s white chef coat. Its arm pocket has all the necessary tools of her classroom: I-card, pen, fork, tea spoon, table spoon. But it is her scraper, she insists, that is the most important accessory of her working life.
The patisserie student will become a chef later this year after receiving her diploma. She plans to intern in some Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris. Her apartment in that city is very close to Eiffel Tower.
“It’s very rare for me to feel low in Paris but when I do,” she says, “I simply walk over to Eiffel Tower and I feel better.”
Today Ms Basar has agreed to make brioche for us. She will follow the instructions of her Cordon Bleu recipe. Sadly, she will only share the ingredients, not the method—the school keeps its recipes confidential. All we can do is to watch her make the stuff. But I will eat it too.
Here is the recipe of Ms Basar’s ‘Brioche’.
12 small brioche buns
Fresh yeast 18gm
The making of Cordon Bleu’s Brioche
2. (with husband, Apurva)
3. (her confidential Cordon Bleu recipe notebook)
8. (with son Tojar’s photo)