Chef Vidushi Sharma’s Love For All Things Sweet

An ardent traveller, gastronome and also an amateur bartender, chef Vidushi Sharma, owner of Mensho Tokyo restaurant tells us about her tryst with cuisines

Chef Vidushi Sharma

An insatiable love for travel and food took chef Vidushi Sharma around the world. Hundreds of cuisines and 250 cities to be precise. Donning her mom’s apron as a child turned out to be a foreshadowing of her calling for the sweeter side of things. After working at some of the world’s best restaurants like Gymkhana, La Petit Maison, Zuma, Nobu, Hakassan, Noa, Gaggan and Indian Accent, she started her Truffle & co, a brand that specialises in hand-rolled french chocolate truffles before launching an authentic Japanese ramen restaurant in Delhi named Mensho Tokyo.

We caught up with her recently to discuss her quest for new adventures. 

Chef Vidushi Sharma took up cooking at an early age

How did you start your journey as a chef? 
I think for most chefs the journey starts very young; it’s a passion for most people who become a part of this industry from a very early age and for me, it wasn’t different. Coming from a family of foodies and observing my mother playing around with recipes from a myriad of cookbooks in the 90s brought alive the spark in me and after reading history in college, Le Cordon Bleu London became a dream to attend. It was the culinary school where I wholeheartedly took to this calling and it became clear that it was the path for me.

You are a globetrotter. How much of your travel has translated into an influence on your culinary leanings?
My travel escapades play a huge role in my culinary ones. Exploring new cultures and their flavours, history, their iconic dishes and ingredients heavily inspires what I create as a chef. I do feel that extensively travelling renders a more exposed palette and the avenues of inspiration are limitless.
Which cuisine, in your opinion, is really close to your heart?
I'd have to say that in spite of being exposed to a plethora of flavours and cuisines, Indian cuisine is still my go-to comfort food and I can't imagine my life without it. Indian cuisine is so vast unto itself & has evolved and keeps evolving into a global giant in terms of cuisine.

Vidushi with husband Viren Khuller

Latest trend in the F&B business is here to stay
Cloud kitchens, fuss-free but packed with flavour food & home deliveries are here to stay thanks to the pandemic.

From Truffle & co. to now Mensho Tokyo, these are such diverse palate profiles. Tell us about your journey from French chocolates to Ramen.
Both my businesses are drastically different and yet very similar. Truffle & Co. & Mensho Tokyo both are products of inspiration from travelling. One hand Truffle & Co. promises to transport you to moments and feelings around the globe through its expansive flavours - be it my favourite gelateria in Florence that serves the best Mint Chocolate Chip Gelato or a walk along the Seine with the Champagne Rose flavour, Truffle & Co. is purely European luxury whereas Mensho Tokyo transports you to a Ramen shop tucked away in a hidden alley somewhere in Tokyo with a comforting bowl packed with flavour, both concepts spoke to me in different ways but then again, they aren’t very different. The backbone is quality & flavour.

You have worked with a range of cuisines in the past. Does cross-pollination of cuisines work in India?
Our own cuisine is so expansive and changes every 100km. What I love about Indian cuisine is that there’s so much scope to amass flavours & ingredients from around the globe and yet be true to our own cuisine. Indian Cuisine is too broad a term but yes, cross-pollination of cuisines do work in India thanks to the varied palette we have all over the country.

Truffle & co. is a brand that specialises in hand rolled french chocolate truffles

Do you believe the pandemic has influenced the way people eat?
Absolutely! The pandemic has influenced people in a lot of ways and their eating habits are a big part of it. From food trends like Dalgona coffee & Banana Bread that emerged in the first wave to delivery kitchens sprouting in the second wave to people seeking refuge from the anxiety the pandemic brought with it in comfort food. The pandemic has done away with gimmicky food trends and brought forth bold flavours, comfort & functional foods.

Your comfort food
Has to be a big bowl of Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe.

Who do you take inspiration from in the culinary world?
Everywhere I see, I see inspiration! But to name a few chefs I follow closely for their philosophies would be Alain Ducasse, Jeol Robuchon, Pierre Herme & of course Menya Shono.

The pandemic spurred an entire generation of home chefs in India. Do you believe this spells good news for India’s culinary scene?
A wholehearted YES! The last two years has given people the time & space to play with their creative sides and has spurred a humongous amount of great home chefs, weekend kitchens, one dish kitchens etc. have really caught on and I’m excited to see what lies ahead!

Vidushi started Mensho Tokyo in India during the lockdown in 2020

You are also an amateur mixologist! Tell us about your favourite drink.
Amateur being the keyword! Most days you’ll find me sipping a Negroni or a gin martini with a twist. I like layered cocktails that aren’t too sweet on the palate & make for an easy sip, Picantes are another cocktail catching flavour quickly.

Your husband has been your partner in making Mensho happen. Do you both share a love for food and travel?
It’s what bonds us, we’re both avid travellers and major foodies and usually make restaurant and bar reservations before we book a hotel when travelling to a new city. It’s this love for discovering new concepts & flavours that inspired us to get Mensho Tokyo to India.