Ever since she started her culinary journey at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu at 18, Chef Vanshika Bhatia knew her ultimate goal was to set up her restaurant by 25. So the stars aligned, and she started her restaurant, ‘The Petite Pie Shop’ in Worldmark, Sector 65, Gurugram. The reasonably new restaurant has not only survived two lockdowns but is also becoming the talk of the town for its unique range of pies, pizzas, salads and more. Chef Vanshikha, who watched and learned from her grandmother creating magic in the kitchen, says she has been cooking since she “could reach the stovetop”. She keeps going back to all that her family taught her about food, that it should look, taste and feel wholesome and nutritious, but at the same time, it should also inspire awe. Vanshikha wants her patrons to head back with a heart full of memories. Le Cordon Bleu alum sat down with us for a freewheeling chat and spoke about running a restaurant in the post-pandemic world, her favourite desserts and bizarre memories in the kitchen, like when she had to collect live ants as ‘ingredients’ in Noma, Denmark. Excerpts from a super fun interview.

Q1. When did you start cooking and baking?

I have been cooking for as long as I remember. I used to help my grandmother make traditional recipes and also my sister when she used to bake. It was in the 11th standard when I got serious about cooking as a career. I would use it as a stress-buster in between studying for board exams and realized the importance of food in my life.

Q2. When did you feel you should start a restaurant?

From the very beginning, when I started my culinary journey at Le Cordon Bleu London at 18 years old, I knew my ultimate goal was to have my restaurant by the time I was 25 years old. So that is what I worked towards.

Q3. Since it is relatively new and set up in a post-covid world, what challenges did you face?

The biggest challenge is probably the fear of another lockdown. When opening a new business, a lot of investment goes into it, not just monetary but also effort and heart. The two lockdowns have been hard on the industry as a whole, including good staff who have now left the industry. It’s challenging to find good people now.

Q4. What is your favourite dessert of all time, and from where?

I always gravitate towards the Indian sweets that I grew up within Kanpur. Banarsi Motichoor Laddu and ‘Badnam’ Kulfi by Thaggu ke Laddu

Q5. List 5 ingredients every amateur chef should always have in their pantry.

In my opinion, that would be salt, lemon, garlic, honey and extra virgin olive oil.

Q6. An ingredient that you are most fascinated by lately and are using generously in your recipes

Pumpkin. I get it freshly harvested from Tijara Farms. It’s such a versatile ingredient. My pumpkin & cream cheese pie is one of the best sellers at Petite Pie Shop.

Q7. Now an expert tip to ensure we get the best pies every time

Please don’t skimp on the butter in the crust, and make sure it’s fridge cold!

Q8. Quick Rapid Fire:

 Pies or pizza?

  • Pizza is a pie! (Laughs)

 Dessert you will pick to binge on your current fav TV series.

  • TV shows always make me want to eat ice cream.

The most bizarre or off-beat thing you used in your preparations

  • At Noma, we had to collect and clean live ants, which were used as an ingredient.

A food trend you rooted for the most

  • Using local and seasonal ingredients.

A dessert you find yourself making the most? Also, please share a recipe?

I keep gravitating towards baked desserts. My most favourite probably being the classic vanilla pound cake. The recipe is very simple and takes 5 mins of prep.

  • Take 3 eggs
  • 150gms flour
  • 150gms sugar
  • 150 gms butter/ vegetable oil
  • A few drops of vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp baking powder


Cream butter/ oil and sugar together till sugar is melted. Add the eggs one at a time and beat them till fluffy. Then slowly add the flour and fold it in till combined. Mix in the essence and baking powder. Bake for 30-45 mins at 175 degrees.