We met with Sona Bahadur at Le Cordon Bleu Paris institute when she came for the HEG 2016 session after winning the scholarship.
How did you hear about the HEG programme?
I first heard about the HEG programme from my friend Shaheen Peerbhai, an alumnus of Le Cordon Bleu Paris. Shaheen left for Paris to study pastry at LCB in 2011 shortly after working as a food consultant for my magazine, BBC Good Food India. When Good Food shut down last year, I was looking for a multi-disciplinary course on gastronomy to strengthen my culinary foundations. Shaheen told me about her friend Moina Oberoi who had pursued (and spoken highly of) HEG a few year ago. The intensive module sounded perfect to me, so I wrote to Edwige to find out more. The rest is history.
What did you gain from the two intensive weeks?
If Brillat-Savarin himself had to design a gastronomy module in the modern world, this would be it. The HEG program has it all, from lectures on food culture and aroma chemistry to wine terroir and note-by-note cooking. The world of food is often a scattered place. My time at HEG allowed me to connect the various dots of the culinary puzzle by understanding food in its entirety. At the same time, the wonderful pedagogic meals and the company of my passionate course mates enabled me to experience conviviality at its finest. The programme opened my eyes to the essence of food, and life itself.
What are the projects for your career?
Currently the landscape of food magazines in India seems clearly drawn. Most are in the business of providing recipes, recipes, and more recipes, largely devoid of text and context. I want to change the way people talk about food through a digital food magazine fills the void for an informed and analytical point of view on the food world.
Any piece of advice for future HEG students?
First, be clear what you seek from the programme and read up a bit about the course content (this will be given to you by the immaculate Edwige Regnier in advance) before you arrive in Paris as it will prepare you for the madly hectic two weeks that await you. Second, try to document your reactions at the end of each day during the course as it will help you organise your thoughts and distil the best from the experience. Third, and most important, don't forget to breathe!
Do you already know which topic your thesis is going to deal with?
I have a couple of strong ideas for my thesis. Hoping to make a final decision soon.