Indians love their food and desserts. Every occasion is highlighted by an array of colorful sweets. Growing up, I was fond of cakes and puddings just as much as I enjoyed the ethnic delicacies. My earliest memories are those of my aunt baking my birthday cake, vanilla with almonds and green cardamom icing. I remember clearly the hours she spent creaming the butter and sugar with the kids jostling in the kitchen, competing to lick the sides of her bowl. Her baking pan is part of my kitchen collection in Delhi even today. I also reverently waited for Christmas, not for the gifts, but for the delectable fruit cakes and pies my friends mothers baked. For fear of having to impart with even a crumb, I would finish their baked gifts before I returned home.
These innocent childhood memories are the spark of my life-long love affair with desserts and my inspirations are drawn from them and enhanced by experiments in my own kitchen. Over the course of my career, I have found the magic of baking lies in pure ingredients, seasonal produce, and skilled preparation. Using my extensive knowledge of spices, fruits, chocolate and savory ingredients, I have married the art of Indian dessert with Western classics producing balanced profiles on the plate. My desserts bear witness to my own transition from India’s award winning restaurants to New York City’s humming culinary scene, creating unexpected, satisfying finales to countless feasts.
We formed Bittersweet NYC in 2010 as two entrepreneurs: Surbhi Sahni, an award-winning pastry chef, and Natalie Pinto, a globally focused travel and event planner. From our first wedding show in 2009 and an order for 3,000 truffles for The Sweet Shop mobile art installation debuting at the 2010 SCOPE New York Art Show, we have grown the business to recognition as “a coveted hire for Indian and non-Indian weddings.” (The New York Times, June 24, 2012).
As the executive pastry chef for several New York City-based Indian fusion restaurants including Amma, Tamarind and Dévi, Surbhi gained a reputation for exquisite desserts and cakes that blended Indian tradition with local urban inspiration. During her six-year stay at Dévi, the restaurant was recognized as the first Indian restaurant in the U.S. to earn a Michelin star. During this time, her fig cake was featured in O, The Oprah Magazine. In 2011, Surbhi became the executive pastry chef for Tulsi where her ginger-flavored panna cotta was recognized by Esquire as one of “The Best Desserts of 2011”.
Prior to meeting Surbhi, Natalie served as managing director of an A-list travel and tour company specializing in exotic tours for high-net-worth individuals and high-profile organizations.
Surbhi and Natalie have planned their first Culinary Tour for India and will be marketing shortly!
Cuisine by state, paired local wines and beers, live music and markets.
Our trips are not just windows into the world,
instead they are, “come in, sit down, cook and eat with me”.