The Best Address

In Conversation with Sehaj Ghuman

Chef Sehaj Ghuman is an Assistant pastry chef at the Academy of Pastry and culinary arts,Gurgaon. She started her career with The Oberoi hotels and resorts as Systematic Training and Education Programme (STEP) associate 2014-2017 at The Oberoi Gurgaon. Post graduation, she joined the Oberoi Centre of Learning and Development and was a Gold
medalist for the Kitchen management batch 2017-2019 and during those two years worked at The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur and Trident Nariman Point, Mumbai. Prior to joining the Academy, she was appointed as a Sous chef – Pastry at The Oberoi
Gurgaon from 2019-2021.

Garfield-edible sugar display

What inspired you to become a pastry chef? You’ve been in the industry for quite some time. Would you have done anything differently when first starting out?
Since childhood I’ve always been fascinated by creative fields and arts, and to add to it, I’ve been surrounded by a family of great cooks and foodies. Our discussions since childhood revolved around food, be it while planning a vacation or simply a weekend meal. So all of this led me to love food dearly and I personally found pastry to be the most artistic out of all the other departments in the kitchen. I started my career with The Oberoi Group as i joined them for the graduation programme in 2014. The STEP program requires you to work hands on all 3 years while pursuing a distant education degree, and I till date believe that it was a great decision to go for this rather than a regular college. The amount of exposure i got and the skills developed on the shop floor level, have helped a lot over the years.

basil, green apple and beetroot dessert pot

What is the philosophy and ethos behind the food you create?

The only philosophy and ethos I follow in the food I create is to make sure it’s delicious and made with the best quality ingredients, so it helps bring joy on the face of the person eating it. These days, a lot of focus is being put on making pastries that are beautiful to see but the taste just hasn’t remained a priority and I completely disagree with this thought process.


 What’s the latest trend when it comes to baking and patisserie? What is one food (pastry) trend you wish would just go away?

The latest trend in the pastry field this year, has been a shift to sustainability. Be it in the form of whole fruit chocolate which uses the pulp of the fruit of the cacao tree or simply reusing leftover glazes and creating wonderful patterns with all these colours. The one trend that I’d wish goes away and has been reducing over the years is fondant cakes. The entire fondant layer always gets removed the minute a cake is cut and everybody avoids eating that sugary layer. I’m all for moving towards cakes where everything gets eaten up.

chocolate panned hazelnuts and pate de fruits

What is your baking style and the philosophy behind it?

My only philosophy in cooking or baking is to put my whole heart into it. Believe me a person eating it can know whether it’s been made half-heartedly. I love to bake with love.

 What’s your favourite comfort food? What’s your favourite pastry or cake or baked product ?

My comfort food is a good gelato. I have a soft spot for frozen churned desserts be it a sorbet, ice cream or gelato and I feel very passionately about getting these right. In terms of baked products, I know we make a lot of complicated and skillful items, but a gooey chewy cookie is as good as it gets.

chocolate, orange and walnut entremet

Who or what was your inspiration to become a pastry chef? 
Spreading happiness through food has always been my inspiration. When i was working in hotels, a happy guest meant a successful day at work and now as an instructor, my students doing well and making amazing products is the best feeling.
What is your advice to aspiring pastry chefs?

My advice to aspiring pastry chefs is that never compromise on the ingredients, it makes a huge difference. Secondly, please don’t shy away from putting all your efforts in the initial few years, because it a very tough industry, but just keep going.

marble gourmet cookie

 Future Plans?

Last year, I had the opportunity to represent the country in a world-level pastry competition and it was the best feeling ever. So going forward, in the future i want to continue working to bringing India to the world pastry scene. People from around the world should want to visit our country for our pastry, just like we do when visiting most European countries. There’s huge talent in our country in terms of pastry, so it’s not a far fetched dream.

Pastry chef Sehaj Ghuman

Would you consider yourself as an artist? Are you inspired by artists when you create your pastries? When you create different products everyday where do you get inspired from?

I believe our profession is closely entwined with art. We seek inspiration from all things around us just like artists do. I personally follow a lot of glass artists to seek inspiration for sugar displays, because sugar and glass have very similar behaviour.

What would you say is the key/winning feature of your creations ?

The key feature in all my creations is fearlessness. Trying combinations all the time to see what works and what doesn’t. I believe in endless possibilities when it comes to pastry.

coconut, mango and hazelnut ice cream cake

What are the most important considerations when crafting your menu?

While making a menu we have to consider a lot of things and there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’. I consider the customer I’m catering and that is the first and foremost deciding factor. Along with that , I look at the flavour profiles, the presentation, the seasonal produce, feasibility of service, textures and catering to different kinds of palettes.

Folia ice cream tart

Have you ever considered being a vegan chef? How practical is it being a pastry chef?

Vegan pastry is fascinating and I’m in awe of all the chefs making everything plant based. However when it comes to me, I feel egg is an essential part of pastry. Just being a vegan chef isn’t my personal cup of tea, I like to do plant based products but just not limit myself to that.

 Which is the dish you’ve created that you are most proud of and why?
 It’s an Ice-Cream tart, called Folia. It has a toasted coconut sable, almond genoise, tropical fruit jelly, passion citron parfait, pineapple sorbet and a coconut ice cream. I had the opportunity to present this recipe at MDAS 2022 in Paris, France.
Here’s a beautiful peanut and chocolate chunk cookie recipe –

230 gm Dark Chocolate
60 gm Olive Oil
200 gm Raw sugar
2 eggs
1 Vanilla pod
100 gm Flour
30 gm Cocoa Powder
5 gm Baking powder
3 gm sea salt
50 gm chopped peanuts
100 gm Chopped milk chocolate

1. Melt the dark chocolate and mix with the oil.
2. Add in the sugar and whisk thoroughly.
3. Add the eggs one by one, incorporating with a whisk.
4. The remaining dry ingredients can be added all at once and combined till it
forms a dough.
5. Rest the dough in the chiller for 2 hours before scaling 40-45 gms per
6. Slightly flatten the cookie dough and bake at 180 degrees for 9 minutes.





    No doubt Chef Sehaj is one of a kind . She is really hard working and it is absolutely visible in her products . BEST WISHES to her from my side for her future endeavors .
    Chef Sehaj is an inspiration to all the budding chefs .

  2. Akash Dass

    One of the world’s best pastry chef 👏👏🧡✨

  3. Twinkle Khanna

    What an insightful conversation! And such beautiful creations by Chef Sehaj! marvelous!


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