announcement INGREDIENT KNOW-HOW Paris

Life updates over a plate of chestnuts

October 4, 2011

Roasted Chestnuts

I think we need to sit down and have a chat. Over some roasted chestnuts. Because that’s what I’m obsessed with these days.

Before one of you jumps up and asks me, “Oh! where do you get these in Bombay?” you’ll figure where soon enough. There have been a lot of things that have happened in the past few months – something that I’ve been quietly planning and was too shy to share until it actually happened. Honestly, I still can’t believe that it’s happening.

Earlier this year, I decided to apply for scholarships to fulfil my long standing dream of studying at Le Cordon Bleu. I looked up the scholarship options,  spent a few days to write the essays, filled out the applications and submitted them. And then I waited. Waited with much anticipation. The day the result for the Culinary Trust Scholarship was to be announced, I barely slept. I kept waking up to frantically refresh my inbox for emails from the Trust. Nothing. The next afternoon, I was too distracted to get any work done. Not wanting to wait any longer for an official verdict, I emailed my interviewer. In a few (excruciating) hours she replied. Her email read, “You DID receive the scholarship to Le Cordon Bleu London!!!!!” I shrieked and stood up on my chair, startling my mom who was busy with her Sudoku. I ran to the next room and broke the news to my dad. I felt a surge of energy, a feeling of contentment and gratitude. I won.


Remember orangefoodie? The guy who I’d refer to occasionally in my posts; the guy who wrote that post on Paris?

Umm…I just married that guy.

We wed in July after knowing each other for 7 years. We used to attend the same undergrad school and even worked at the same company until I decided I’d much rather bake. When he decided to move to France, there was hardly a chance that we’d live apart. We had to go together. We had to get married. And now that he’s no secret anymore, his name is Arjun. And I’m pretty crazy about him.


While we were on our honeymoon in Malaysia, I received a BBM from my friend Maha from Pakistan where she told me she won the James Beard scholarship to study at the French Culinary Institute in NYC. She asked me if I had heard from the trust. I hadn’t. Now, Maha and I’ve been friends for over a year. She had won the James Beard Foundation scholarship to study at Le Cordon Bleu London in 2009. Maha was more than helpful with my own application. She ended her first email with “If you need any help, I’m here.” Nobody says that in a first email. I felt taken care of. I had the best advisor I could have asked for. Thanks, Maha. (Readers from Pakistan: She makes cake, so you’re going to love her too. More on Fatso’s Catering.)

Anyway, I got back to Bombay wondering why I hadn’t won. I was disappointed, but with the chaos of packing, moving cities, and starting a new life in Paris, I didn’t mull over it too much. That night before we left for Paris, on my mom’s birthday, I received a one line email from The James Beard Scholarship that read, “Letters regarding application status were recently released.  Please see attached.” Why bother opening a rejection letter, I thought. I reluctantly downloaded the attachment and spotted the words “I am pleased to announce…” Umm, what? I began reading it again. I had won the scholarship to study Cuisine at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. Pinch me.


So, here I am sitting on my desk in France, with a view of lush chestnut trees from my window. I still can’t believe I won both the scholarships I applied for. I keep going back to the Culinary Trust website to see my name up there. I still can’t believe I’m married and living in the city I’ve always wanted to. I’ve been here for a month now – setting up our first home together, arranging my kitchen shelves, cooking more Indian food than I’ve ever cooked (the craving!) and shopping at G. Detou so I can start baking. The light in our house is absolutely fantastic for food photography, plus the slanted rays means I have more flexibility in terms of time of day to shoot. My uncle gifted me a professional KitchenAid stand mixer for the wedding and I need to go and pick that up from London later this month, along with a bagful of my cookbooks he brought back with him after the wedding. It’s all coming together now.


I thought I’d address this since I’ve been receiving a load of email enquiries for baking classes that range from the cute “I’d love to come to your class with my niece” to the demanding, “Where are you?? Need new baking lessons.”  I may not reply to all the mails I get for classes, but I tuck them safely into a folder meant just for these, for the time that I’m back in Bombay and ready to conduct classes. You will be the first to know.


So back to the roasted chestnuts. My adorable Korean neighbour and biggest Aamir Khan fan, Sky and I go chestnut picking downstairs with large plastic bags in hand. We make sure we wear sports shoes so we don’t get pricked by the horrible spiky, cactus-like shell and then come back upstairs to roast them in the oven and eat them while they’re still warm, and almost too warm to peel.

Beware though, a few days ago we thought we hit the jackpot when we discovered a tree that bore even larger chestnuts. We stuffed them in our bags, prepped them and roasted them, but when it was time to eat them, they were spat right out. These big chestnuts were awfully bitter. A little reading proved that they were in fact Horse chestnuts. They’re meant for animals and are slightly toxic for humans. Yikes. Into the trash can they went.

After picking and roasting chestnuts over the weeks, I figured out a few things about them:

* A long incision needs to made on the chestnut. Either across the centre of it, or a cross on the top. This serves two purposes. Firstly, it will let the steam escape, so peeling the roasted chestnuts is a cinch. If you don’t, you won’t manage to get a whole piece of chestnut – I ended up rabbit-teething (using the maxillary central incisors to scoop out the chestnut fresh from the shell). Also, scoring the shell of the chestnut will prevent chestnut bombs going off in your oven (steam can’t escape, the pressure builds up, you get the point), or worse, on your couch when you’ve pulled them out before letting them cool. True story.

* When you’re picking (or buying) chestnuts, choose the ones with nice, shiny shells.

* If a chestnut has a black spot when peeled, discard it. It’s spoilt, or it’s likely that you’ll find a baked creepy-crawly in it (eww).

* It’s a good idea to let the chestnuts sit for a few days before you roast them. The starch will convert to sugar and you’ll have sweeter chestnuts.

* The toughest part really is making incisions with a knife. The smooth chestnut is bound to slip that leads to a cut. My friend tells me that they have a special tool in Korea just for this (these guys have a tool for everything!)

For Bombay folks, you can enjoy the taste of chestnuts in a jar of Bonne Maman Marron confiture. It’s terrific.

Roasted Chestnuts

1 kg chestnuts (or as many can fill on your baking tray in a single layer)

Heat the oven to 180C.
Using a small, sharp knife, make incisions in the shell of the chestnut.
Place them on a baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes, until you see the shell opening up and curling slightly.
Turn off the oven, and let it continue to sit inside (Just for safety, in case some incisions weren’t big enough.)
Transfer to a large bowl. Peel and eat up while it’s still warm.

Once I manage to save some without eating them all, I’ll try and cook something up with them. Do point me to your favourite chestnut recipes.


  • Reply Karishma October 4, 2011 at 7:12 AM

    Now thats called life!!!! Live it up!

  • Reply Madhuli October 4, 2011 at 9:12 AM

    Congratulations Shaheen- on everything: marriage, Le Cordon Bleu ,Paris, your dreams turning into reality and also the Kitchen Aid :) Best Luck and looking forward to all the updates from your side of the world.

  • Reply Arch October 4, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    OMG !! This is packed with great news ! Congratulations on your marriage and Le Cordon Bleu, fantastic !!! All the very best !!

  • Reply Chaitali October 4, 2011 at 11:35 AM


    I just wrote you a long, hyper-excited mail with a lot of questionable grammar (hyper excitement does that to ya). But to sum it up I’m very happy for you! It seems like a wonderful opportunity.

    Have fun in Paris!!

  • Reply The Flavor Carousel October 4, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    Congratulations!! This is such wonderful news…and PARIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (i could not have typed that without that many exclamation marks). You really deserve it – for all your effort, for making all those delish things in India without all the “foreign” ingredients, and for inspiring me to start my own blog!! Congratulations again, and YAY for love :-).

  • Reply Igirit October 4, 2011 at 11:53 AM

    In love and in Paris! Goodness, I am SO happy for you. Also a wee bit jealous, oh but so so happy. Wish you the very very bestest. :)
    And don’t stop blogging, we want to hear about cordon le bleu!

  • Reply Meera October 4, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    I’m one of your shy readers… but this post definitely requires to be commented on!!
    A huge set of congratulations & warm wishes on all the new changes in your life!!! I’m quite happy & excited for you!

    All the best!! :)

  • Reply Grapefruit October 4, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    wow, wow & wow. congratulations on all of the above!
    looking forward to hearing about your experiences at LCB. what a dream come true!

  • Reply Moina October 4, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    God Shaheen!!!!!! Congrats, congrats aaannd crongrats!!
    I can actually feel the excitement and gratitude reading your post. Now that Purple Foodie has access to so much more amazing ingredients I can’t wait to see whats next. Big hug, good luck and lots of energy for the year =).

  • Reply Divya October 4, 2011 at 1:00 PM

    Congratulations Shaheen! I was hoping for a South Bombay Bake Sale soon, but guess I will have to visit Paris now. :)

  • Reply sangita October 4, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    Hey congratulations on ur marriage and the scholarships and best of luck for the future. This one is by far the BEST post ever. Loved reading every bit. Do keep us posted on whatever happens next :)

  • Reply Sushmita October 4, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    Wow ,Congratulations Shaheen on your marriage and the Le Cordon Bleu Scholarship!!! :)

  • Reply Anushruti | Divinetaste October 4, 2011 at 1:49 PM

    I’m so happy and proud of you! A moving post indeed! I’m yet to give you your bag of pink peppercorns and you moved away so far, so suddenly! I wish we had met one more time, my place (as we had planned many times) or elsewhere! All the very best to you! Love and hugs from all the way!

  • Reply Mufaddal Husein October 4, 2011 at 1:50 PM

    and just Too Cool!
    Congratulations Shaheen – such awesome news, I cant tell you how happy i am for you (and yet slightly sad – that you won’t be in India). Blessings for a happily married life. -o-;-;-; (that’s nimbu & mirchi for the post :D )

    Do keep posting on the blog, while i’ll send over an email that i’ve been sitting on for too long.

    Le Cordon Bleu! still tingling….. wow.. :)

  • Reply Sunita October 4, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    I think this has to be your best blog-post ever! It’s brimming over with happiness, excitement, achievements, awesomeness, romance, more happiness, new experiences, more excitement and even more happiness . Oh yeah, and some never-tried food too.
    So happy for you, my friend! :) :) :)

  • Reply Shipra October 4, 2011 at 2:15 PM

    is this the stuff movies are made of? I think so! Congratulations on the wedding, the scholarships and omg Living in PARIS!

    Have a wonderful time!

    • Reply The Purple Foodie October 5, 2011 at 4:07 PM

      Yes, this is what it was. I’ve too to reply to your email. I’m going to get around to it – I save the longest ones for last. : )

  • Reply Siri October 4, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    Congratulations Shaheen on all the exciting things happening in your life right now. Cheers to many many more in near future. :) :)

    So happy for you,

  • Reply Kulsum at JourneyKitchen October 4, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    Can it get bigger and better than this? You deserve it. Cherish it :-) Huge hugs your way!

  • Reply naiya October 4, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    Happy for you Shaheen . Since now you moved to Paris , I m pretty sure this space is going to have amazing palate of baking good . Afterall YOU are in PARIS.
    Congratulation !

  • Reply Disha October 4, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    I’m so so so happy for u S! Congratulations and good luck for ur life ahead…..

  • Reply Brown Suga October 4, 2011 at 3:55 PM

    When it rains it pours! So happy for you – I’ve been a fan of your blog forever! Many many congrats on the wedding and Le Cordon Bleu (WOW!!!) and the move to Paris.

  • Reply mariam October 4, 2011 at 4:35 PM

    congartulations shaheen!!

    god has a way of his own.. he brought your love for baking and france together for a reason. life is like a jigsaw puzzle..wen all peices fit all you can do is admire the image and thank the almighty for the wonderfull result.
    All the best!

  • Reply jyotika purwar October 4, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    Congrats darling. What amazingness! Do well. And I will miss your Sex chocolate cake you baked for my mum’s birthday. Big hugs to you.

  • Reply Fazela October 4, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    Wow! All this is so wonderful!
    I am super happy for you and a BIG Congratulations raised to power n on your marriage, the school, Paris, a great husband, new house …. I hope you get whatever you want and have a great time. Take Care and Enjoy!!!

  • Reply Mary October 4, 2011 at 6:14 PM

    Dear shaheen,
    Congratulations for all the three great news.
    Have a great life ahead

  • Reply thecoffeesnob October 4, 2011 at 6:16 PM

    Congrats on everything that has happened so recently! Life really works out in mysterious ways huh?

    I hope Paris continues to treat you well and look forward to reading more posts about your adventures there!

  • Reply Snigdha October 4, 2011 at 6:17 PM

    OMG! I’m one of those writing to you “Which part of the world are you in?” So glad to finally catch up with you. *fingers crossed* Now does it mean we see you blogging and tweeting more than ever? Congratulations to you and Arjun! Enjoy Paris :) Love from Mumbai..

  • Reply Puneet October 4, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    Congratulations on the wedding and the scholarship :)

  • Reply Doux Project October 4, 2011 at 6:05 PM

    Congratulations! So good to be all caught up with your life! Have fun in Paris, you deserve it honey :)

  • Reply Shéa MacLeod October 4, 2011 at 9:48 PM

    Congratulations on your marriage, move, AND scholarship wins. Sounds like you are living the dream!

    Chestnuts are plenty here in London, but can you believe I’ve still never tried them? Going to have to give them a go.

  • Reply Ashrita October 4, 2011 at 10:26 PM

    I never usually comment but your post just left me so excited and I have a tear at the corner of my eye as I type this. Congratulations for everything, and wishing you the best for every thing!! You make me believe that things can happen :) Lots of love and blessings!

  • Reply SAM October 4, 2011 at 10:34 PM


  • Reply Priya October 5, 2011 at 12:06 AM

    Awesome news! Congrats to u n Arjun, and the great lighting which will allow you to share your new culinary life with us! God bless.

  • Reply Namrata October 5, 2011 at 12:22 AM

    In spite of already knowing almost the entire story it was wonderful reading it in your words. Way to Go!!!

  • Reply Priya October 5, 2011 at 12:30 AM

    Congrats S, wishing u the best in everything..god bless..

  • Reply Kalyan October 5, 2011 at 1:33 AM

    congrats and may more wonderful and well deserved desserts keep pouring in to your life

  • Reply Kitchen Butterfly October 5, 2011 at 4:11 AM


    G Detou is wonderful. Seek out E Dehillerin an Bruno’s too. So pleased for you – living your dream.

    I know who to go to when I need to fill out my scholarship forms! Thank you very much :-). have a wonderful new life!

  • Reply Kitchen Butterfly October 5, 2011 at 4:16 AM

    And I love chestnuts. Once made a soup out of them

    And a delicious rice – kumquat and chestnuts rice pudding pie

  • Reply joey October 5, 2011 at 6:36 AM

    What wonderful news! So nice to come to your blog and read all this! Go and live your dream!!! :)

    Love roasted chestnuts…they say Christmas to me! We should be getting them soon over here too :)

  • Reply Jay October 5, 2011 at 7:33 AM

    Hy shaheen,
    first time your space..
    awesome posts with nice presentation..
    excellent cliks..
    roasted chestnuts sounds absolutely lipsmacking..
    Am your happy follower now..:)
    do stop by mine sometime..
    Tasty Appetite

  • Reply Archana October 5, 2011 at 11:15 AM


    Thats some bundle of pleasant surprises..Really happy for you…Congrats a tonne..Live th life u desired to th fullest..
    Come back soon nd conduct some baking classes here in Mumbai..:)

  • Reply Hima October 5, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    Congrats and all best.

  • Reply Dipna October 5, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    You know you deserve it all for being the person that you are! Simply Lovely! =)
    Wishing you guys lots of love and luck always.

  • Reply Aarti October 5, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    Best post ever! Congratulations, Shaheen! What an awesome year! We ( my six year old and I) love baking from your blog… Really hope you find time to keep those recipes coming :)

  • Reply Janaki October 5, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    Congrats Shaheen! We’re gonna miss you in India – but I guess we’ll enjoy reading abt your culinary adventures in the City of Light :-)

  • Reply Anushree October 5, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    Congratssss! Wow seems like a lot has happend in your life at one go.
    Best of luck for the future. You really inspire me.

  • Reply Sia October 5, 2011 at 3:02 PM

    Can it get bigger, better and happier than this?! :) Hearty Congratulations Shaheen.

    Just discoved your blog few days back and I am enjoying going through each and every post of urs and discoveing wonderful (and gorgeous) recipes!

    And regarding chestnuts, I have been meaning to cook for the last 5 years but every time I end up eating them!!! May be this year I can try to use them in cooking/baking ;)

  • Reply Kamal October 5, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    I am so so happy for u. Go live your dream and make it big.

  • Reply Dee October 5, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    You are my inspiration. It is amazing how much you’ve accomplished and I am so happy you’re living the dream. I only hope that one day, my life will also turn out so wonderfully.
    I am slightly jealous that you’re living in Paris and attending Cordon Bleu (un reve de moi) but i’ll live the dream through you for now. :P
    You have been such a big influence on my cooking and general outlook on life (it is possible to do what you love and make yourself successful off of it)….Thanks Shaheen. Really. This blog….im hooked.

    Congratulations on the wedding and scholarship and everything really.

    Thank you so much for everything, wish you all the best, and please DO NOT stop blogging!
    Gros bisous,
    – your biggest 16 year old fan. :)

    • Reply The Purple Foodie October 5, 2011 at 10:59 PM

      Aww you got me smiling. You’re just 16! No need to be jealous. So many things out there that you can do. Thanks so much for writing me a note. : )

  • Reply The Purple Foodie October 6, 2011 at 1:08 AM

    Thank you all so much for your thoughtful wishes. I’m touched.

  • Reply Danielle October 6, 2011 at 3:34 AM

    Shaheen!!! OMG I am so happy for you, for daring to dream, to leap and for maintaining your composure through it all! What a year 2011 has been for you, I cannot wait to hear all about life in Paris and culinary school. hopefully we’ll get a chance to meet in person now that you’re living in France. Good luck with everything and continue kicking a** ;)

  • Reply Shweta October 6, 2011 at 11:13 AM

    Hi Shaheen, I am very lazy to leave comments but this post has left me with no option…Many Many Congratulations and Good luck with everything!!!

    Have a good one!!!

    – Shweta

  • Reply zareen October 7, 2011 at 12:05 AM

    hey shaheen congrats!! for LCB as well as for ur wedding!!
    happy to knw about it… hows LCB going??

  • Reply C.C.No.3 October 7, 2011 at 4:04 AM

    Congratulations on your scholarship, wedding and everything!
    I love your blog and it really helps me a lot on life and cooking!

    By the way,
    the your friend SKY mentioned on this paper,
    she seems very nice person…isn’t she lovely? (feat: Steven Wonder~)
    collecting chestnuts with her…
    makes me jealous little bit…!

    wish you all the best! and please update blog!
    I love your blog and can’t wait to read your posts!
    Good luck with everything in Paris!!!!!

    • Reply The Purple Foodie October 9, 2011 at 1:33 AM

      Dear CC No. 3. My friend Sky is awesome. Too bad you can’t hang out with her as much as I do. ;)

  • Reply a spoonful of yumm October 7, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    congrats for both !! have a blast :))

  • Reply Mufaddal Husein October 7, 2011 at 4:35 PM

    Oh i had something else to add which i forgot in my first comment.

    We used to have chestnuts as kids in the winter in dubai (not local obvs) but we would roast them in the oven or toss them into the BBQ after everything else was done and the coals were still hot. If you don’t want to use a knife, we used to just crack open the shell with a rock or the pestle – safer than using the knife on the hard smooth shell..

  • Reply Kristin October 7, 2011 at 9:13 PM


  • Reply Vidhi October 7, 2011 at 9:39 PM

    Awww, felicitations, vous deux! Je suis tres heureuse pour vous. :) Et aussi, felicitations pour la bourse! C’est mieux a Paris qu’a Londres, bien-sur! ;)

  • Reply Sasha October 7, 2011 at 10:34 PM

    Wow, what a good news post! Enjoy living your dreams!

    I have just come to Bombay to spend a few months here and I wanted to thank you for your guide to Crawford Market and to finding ingredients in the city. I am certain that I will make the most out of it the next little while. Merci!

  • Reply Charis October 10, 2011 at 11:25 AM

    Congratulations!! This is so amazing for you!
    You’re so lucky and blessed :)
    Looking forward to many, many more posts!
    Much love.

  • Reply asma October 10, 2011 at 8:05 PM

    many many congratulations on the wedding and the scholarship and your new life!!!!
    this is my second comment to you (my first is on the amazing crawford map; obviously) and i couldnt help myself!!
    we’r all sooooooo happy for u! uve been quite an inspiration to me in the kitchen and i got myself more involved with my then once in a while baking because U proved that u MUST pursue what u love doing and u WILL excel in that and that only!
    thanks for the above!
    plz do keep blogging!

  • Reply Pitsy October 10, 2011 at 11:37 PM

    This is absolutely wonderful news! Congratulations on the wedding and the scholarships! I dont know you personally, but m just so very happy for you…i cant help myself from smiling foolishly at the screen. :D
    Hope you dont stop blogging.

    Lots of luck,

    P.S. I know m gonna give up law and follow in your footsteps some day :)

  • Reply Debipriya October 10, 2011 at 11:37 PM

    hey Shaheen,

    when i asked u were to shop for choco in Paris? i could almost feel ur exuberance from my window screen screaming out G. Detou… and I went through the site and did a wide research of the shop and drilled my friend how he needs to shop chocos only and only from this shop.
    And now I again, feel ur ‘I can’t beelive-PINCH ME’ syndrome when I read u are about of come together with your KA and props from DG!! I can feel ur dream. And I wish u that this happiness stays with you and Arjun as long as you both live!!

    Ohh I got married on july too. Congratulation on sweet married life pouching and baking!!

  • Reply Akkta October 11, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    Now now… have been wondering why you haven’t been posting lately. Your blog is such a treasure that I keep coming back not just for the recipes, but where-to’s and how-to’s.

    Since you have spilled the beans… here’s wishing you luck and success in all your endeavors! And I’m hoping you are back soon with more workshops and interesting details! :)

    P.S.: Orange & Purple do make an interesting and vibrant combo ;)

  • Reply The Purple Foodie October 11, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    Thank you all, so much. I love coming back to read all your comments. : )

  • Reply Tori (@eat-tori) October 11, 2011 at 10:03 PM

    Congratulations! On the marriage, the scholarships and the move. Can’t wait to hear more about your new adventures. We had a beautiful roasted chestnut and chestnut mushroom soup as a starter for Christmas lunch last year, with a frizzle of pancetta and sage over the top. It was lovely….

  • Reply baa October 12, 2011 at 4:11 AM

    How did I forget to congratulate you ?? Congratulations my dear !! All the best with your marriage and new endeavors !!

  • Reply Gagan October 12, 2011 at 8:22 AM

    Happily ever after indeed! Congratulations!!! Orange and purple…..hmmm! :)

  • Reply Fatima October 12, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    Congratulations!! Im so happy for you!

  • Reply Ami Bhatia October 12, 2011 at 10:39 PM

    Hi Shaheen ! Congratulations and the best to you always :)

  • Reply Lalita Rao October 12, 2011 at 11:29 PM

    Hi Shaheen,

    Many, many congratulations on the scholarships, the wedding, and the move to beautiful Paris. May this new phase in life be as sweet as the goodies you entice us with!!


  • Reply Bhavna October 15, 2011 at 10:29 PM

    Many congratulations on the wedding and even many-er congratulations on moving to paris!!! am hoping you gnna simplify the french recipes for us!!! Good luck with the new life (and the old blog, which we wont stop reading anyway!!) :)

  • Reply a spoonful of yumm October 16, 2011 at 12:58 PM

    congrats & good luck shaheen !! wishing you a yummy life ahead ;-)

  • Reply Manjiri October 16, 2011 at 1:16 PM


    I love your blog and it’s one of the few that I keep coming back to! Kinda feel guilty for not commenting before. But hope this one makes up for it. :)

    Like someone else mentioned before, I don’t know you either, but the cordon bleu victory brought a huge grin on my face. So, I can only imagine your euphoria!! Congratulations!! Really. :D

    You are practically living my dream… living in Paris with a husband and an LCB scholarship. wow! I hope i reach there soon, as well. People like you inspire me to pursue my dream and not give up on it, no matter what the odds are. Thank you.

    Good luck and Happy baking! :)

    • Reply The Purple Foodie October 16, 2011 at 7:19 PM

      Hey Manjari, You felt ‘guilty for not commenting’?! You’re too sweet. Thank you for your wishes. I’m lucky to have awesome readers like you. Do what you like doing the most. :)

  • Reply The Purple Foodie October 16, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    Thank you so much, everyone. Whenever I read your notes, I can’t stop smiling. : )

  • Reply Hello, Butternut Squash! | The Purple Foodie October 19, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    […] far have been châtaignes à la vanille slathered on toast, Speculoos spread straight from the jar, roasted chestnuts, crème fraîche dolloped on or dipped into, crunchy(!) Speculoos spread (from the jar again. Move […]

  • Reply Swati October 20, 2011 at 12:18 AM

    So so happy for you :) marriage and scholarship and paris…it is *the* life!

  • Reply Shweta October 20, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    Congratulations Shaheen, for your marriage and the scholarship!
    Learn, savour and have a blast.

  • Reply Rehab October 28, 2011 at 7:39 PM

    I am so happy and inspired!

    I have gushed at your photos, made friends over your blog,tried and failed at recipes and made my first cheese bread day before yesterday!

    Heartiest Congratulations and hugs to you :)

    Can’t wait for your TV Show :)

  • Reply Chez Us October 29, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    Congrats! I love that your dreams are coming true, and in such a special city. Paris is truly magically, and I believe anything can happen there. Someday, we keep saying, we will have a home there. Cannot wait.

    Chestnuts hold a dear to my heart memory in Paris. I love autumn days there, spent walking through the parks, and the old men are roasting chestnuts. Love getting a little bundle, still warm, and wrapped in newspaper. They are so good.


    • Reply The Purple Foodie November 2, 2011 at 1:02 AM

      Hey Denise! It sucks that we lost touch. I’ve still put your email in the “to-reply” folder. Had so much going on when you emailed, and now, living in Paris is quite distracting. Not complaining though. ;) Thank you for all the good wishes. Hope you make a trip here soon and we can finally meet up.

  • Reply Judy October 30, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    You’ve been holding back! wow I felt such a wonderful feeling just reading your update, and this chat over chestnuts ;)

    congratulations to your whirlwind of beautiful happenings! Couldn’t be more glad for a stranger, half a world away, reading about you getting married and going to culinary school and living in the most romantic city on earth. Make it a beautiful place, Paris is lucky to have you!

    • Reply The Purple Foodie November 2, 2011 at 1:03 AM

      Hey Judy!! Thanks so much. Sometimes it hits me “Heck, I’m in Paris!” and I can’t believe how things just fell in place. xx

  • Reply I’m Loving: 11/02/2011 « Food Lines November 3, 2011 at 1:19 AM

    […] foods; I’m enchanted at being transported to Paris through her writing, which isn’t just about chestnut-picking, so much as it is about the magic of discovery and change. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike […]

  • Reply Recipe List | The Purple Foodie November 3, 2011 at 2:05 PM

    […] Popcorn Ginger and Honey Roasted Almonds Oven-dried tomatoes Parmesan and Thyme Roasted Almonds Roasted Chestnuts Spice Infused Grapes Thyme Toasted […]

  • Reply viral December 1, 2011 at 12:47 PM

    congratulations Shaheen!

    i’ve been a lurker on your sight for a long time. love the way you write and photograph your food. your passion obviously oozes through these posts!

    I’m compelled to write here because i am looking at making a switch from what I am doing to something i am really passionate about! infact i’ve only just submitted my application for that as well!

    wish you luck and do keep blogging when you can! in case you didnt know you make a lot of people very happy with your posts ( food or otherwise)

    • Reply The Purple Foodie December 1, 2011 at 5:52 PM

      That’s awfully sweet of you, Viral. Thanks!

      And all the best for whatever you want to do. :)

  • Reply marla December 17, 2011 at 3:22 AM

    I am about to roast some chestnuts for the first time and I am crazy excited about it!

  • Reply Mythili Chari February 1, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    I have been wanting to try chestnuts out ever since I read about them in some book whose name I have now forgotten! But I could never find them anywhere in Bombay. Finally remembered today that I could run a search on Google and maybe find something. Came across your site then, and I just wanted to say this:

    Firstly, congratulations for living your dream!

    Secondly, after reading this post, I now crave chestnuts unlike ever before and I don’t even know what they taste like!

    Thirdly, (and maybe a little more selfishly, sorry!) I don’t know where I can find Bonne Maman Marron here – well, I’ve only tried looking for it online so far, and it doesn’t look like there’s any site which ships to India! Will I find some at Crawford Market? Oh, please put me out of my misery soon!

    Thanks a lot, and Good Luck to you sweetie! :)

    • Reply The Purple Foodie February 1, 2012 at 5:29 PM

      Hey Maithili,

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment! You can find Bonne Maman jams at Nature’s Basket. I’ve also spotted it at Sante in Bandra. I hope you find it! =)


  • Reply Day One | The Purple Foodie March 29, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    […] out of bed for my first day of school… The school of my dreams. The school for which I was awarded the James Beard Scholarship. First. Day. […]

  • Reply nags March 30, 2012 at 3:15 AM

    i can’t believe i am seeing this post only now. i love how things all came together perfectly for you, arjun’s moving to Paris, to begin with. totally excited reading your first day at school post :) keep writing!

  • Reply Parita April 13, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    OMG How d hell did I miss this!!! First of congratulations on your wedding and double congratulations on getting scholarship to world’s best culinary schools! You’ve written this post so amazingly well! I could literally feel every emotion in there! Truly touched my heart and to be bluntly honest felt a tiny tear too in the corner of my eyes! I can understand your happiness coz I too share the same interest..infact exactly a year back in 2011 summers I was surfing web for good culinary institutes in EU and of course Leu Cordon Bleu was on top of my list! Due to personal reasons I could not pursue my dream further but m really happy that you’re dream has fulfilled! I know I dont often comment but I do visit your blog pretty much regularly! Wish you all the very best for an amazing future! TC!

    • Reply The Purple Foodie June 10, 2012 at 5:06 PM

      Hey Parita! Thank you so much. So sweet of you (sorry I’m catching up on my comments after SO long). Hope you can realise your dream some day too. It feels amazing to actually live something you’ve wanted for so long. xx

  • Reply Onil Gandhi June 18, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    like many followers above … i too feel “How d hell did I miss this!!!”… hi i need your guidance… I am headed for CIA.. but….Culinary Institute of America, prior to the admission for their 21 month associate degree programme, require a 6-months kitchen experience.

    I am willing to work anywhere, but being 43 yrs old, an entrepreneur, presently a government employee, I am finding it hard to get a suitable apprenticeship….

    I would also like to know your opinion about CIA vis-a-via LCB

    can you please guide wrt culinary schools and apprenticeship

  • Reply Wild Rice Salad | The Purple Foodie July 3, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    […] my last few days in Paris before moving to London to study the patisserie program at Le Cordon Bleu, I wanted to do a whole lot of things. I wanted to to cook with Jennie for Friday Lunches – […]

  • Reply Chocolate Chestnut Loaf Cake, TV Appearance and My Orange Kitchen | The Purple Foodie February 18, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    […] like whenever I make anything with chestnuts, a post on updates in in order. Here’s an update about a few recent and somewhat unrelated […]

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