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Chef Gaurav Wadhwa Founder, Theos

Tuesday, July 9, 2019, 13:04 Hrs  [IST]

Chef Gaurav Wadhwa is an ideal role model for budding chefs. The Founder of Theos, an artisanal French Patisserie brand based in Delhi NCR, Chef Wadhwa had nursed his entrepreneurial ambition from his classroom at IHM Pusa and decided to take a plunge at the young age of 22 leaving a career with the Taj Group of Hotels. He has his piece of advise for young aspiring entrepreneurs. Step out of the safe zone and expose oneself to the challenges when the passion is at its peak. Passion dips with the age and knowledge and experience would become a barrier and burden. P Krishna Kumar met with Chef Wadhwa at his small but well-appointed corporate office in Noida where he shared his mantra of life and his business strategies to become the leading French patisserie brand in the national capital region.

Q When did you realise an entrepreneurial spark in you?
I made up my mind when I joined IHM Pusa for my hotel management course. I knew that I have to fast track myself to be my own in my life. After passing out from IHM in 2003, I joined Taj Group of hotels as a management trainee. I worked under German and French Chefs and was lured by French Patisserie culture quite early. In 2005, I was sent to Taj Connemara Chennai. At 20, I was the Head Pastry Chef and that was a great confidence booster for me. In 2007 I left the job and launched my first Theos outlet in Noida sector 50 in the same year in April.

At 22, I was the youngest chef to open own brand. I strongly feel that success is the result of both passion and knowledge. I knew that I gained the knowledge and experience to start something on my own by then. I wanted to start something when I have at the height of my passion and knowledge. I believe that with age, the passion starts dipping and the risk-taking ability weakens. Therefore, one should learn to step out of the safe zone and expose himself to the challenges of the outside world. A lot of people end up dreaming about things for long and not able to take the challenges.

In 2010, we launched the first Italian café lounge. Today we have Theos outlets in Sangam Courtyard, RK Puram, Malviya Nagar, Mall of India and Sector 62 Noida. We cater to retail, institutional and corporate customers.

Q Where do you position Theos?
We project ourselves as an artisanal French Patisserie brand. We use minimal machinery in our production. Since we cater to the premium segment of the market, we use only premium raw materials. Moreover, we use 100% butter and dairy cream and avoid non-dairy ingredients in our production. Another major USP of our products is that we don’t use pre-mixes at all and therefore we are a scratch to the finished product brand.

My grooming was under French and German chefs and always lured by French Patisserie culture. Therefore, Theos made an instant connect with the customers. However, we were not too rigid. Theos always tried to understand the customers and tried to give expression to that through customisation. There are many French Patisserie brands and products which are too early from an Indian customer taste standpoint. They follow set patterns and cannot offer much flexibility. We, because of our deep understanding of the French cuisines as well as Indian palates were able to offer products which connect with Indian palate. We, at Theos, refrain from very fancy experiments. Yes, we know that such experiments will bring accolades, but doesn’t make business sense if products don’t move faster.

Q What are your future plans in terms of expansion of the brand network, production facilities, etc.? We are currently in the process of setting up a base kitchen. We have got a plot of land through bidding from Noida Authority and we have started construction of a base kitchen there. While fully ready, the base kitchen will have 50,000 sqft area spread in five floors. The facility will be ready in the next two years. With the new base kitchen, our production facility will go up manifold and we will be able to serve the whole of Delhi NCR market in a 50 to 60 km radius.

We are currently mapping the Delhi NCR market. The intent is to have a presence in all the prominent places in the Delhi NCR market. We will be touching the Gurgaon market soon.

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