There is no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing a dream. Author Unknown
We, as Team Lavonne, are extremely proud of our students who are doing well for themselves and are creating ripples wherever they go. This week, it’s our pleasure to introduce you to Lynette Lai, of our June 2014 batch, who hails from Malaysia but has lived in Europe, mainly Stockholm, Sweden, and London, for over a decade, before moving to India two years ago.
Tell us where life has taken you after Lavonne.
I am currently interning with ITC under the Food division. I am working with one of the most established Executive and Pastry chefs of ITC, Chef Harparwan Kapoor Singh, on a cookie project. ITC is in the middle of launching a range of premium cookies in the market and I’m involved in the initial stage, experimenting on huge varieties of cookies to be narrowed down for launching.
My role includes baking different kinds of cookies, ranging from healthy clusters to decadent chocolate cookies, and also experimenting on eggless cookies to outdo the current ITC Sunfeast eggless cookies, and also some unconventional cookies which they want to introduce to the Indian market. Additionally, I’m involved in dealing with the food engineers and consumer tests before the launch.
How and why did you apply for the Diploma program at Lavonne?
Baking has always been my passion since I was a kid and it has just grown even stronger as I got older. I’ve done many things in life, working in different industries across different countries. I’ve also co-founded an advertising company with my husband and that’s what brought us to India. But I’ve always believed in one principle- it’s never too late to change industry to pursue your dreams or passion. I joined Lavonne to take my home baking skill to a professional level. I also happen to know Chef Joonie Tan very well so I zeroed in on Lavonne in a trice.
What was your experience at Lavonne like?
I have to say the course is rather intense but all in a good way. Lavonne has its way to push and encourage us students to think, to be creative, and most importantly, prepare us well for the industry, which can be tough. And you will only realise this once you start interning or working.
I also had a great deal of fun at Lavonne and met some awesome people who are now my good friends. It’s definitely one of the best experiences I’ve had living in India.
How has Lavonne helped in your professional pursuit as a pastry chef?
Lavonne has a very modern approach and incredible way to prep us students for the industry. I’ve baked a lot and for many years before I joined Lavonne, but after being at Lavonne for only 6 months, I’ve learned more than I have for the past 20 years since I started baking! Everything that is taught at Lavonne is extremely relevant for those of us who want to pursue this career.
Many of the chefs I work with now are all impressed with my knowledge and skills which I have gained from Lavonne. I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing now if it hadn’t been for my course at Lavonne!
Is there a piece of advice that you might like to give current and future students of Lavonne?
Hang in there! It might seem tough, but trust me, it will be worth all the hard work. I cannot thank Lavonne enough for being strict on us, for pushing us to the edge, to think and be creative. Only when you start working professionally, you will look back and be extremely thankful. No doubt about it.
What plans do you have for the future?
I am working hard towards my dream of becoming the Executive Chef of my own kitchen/restaurant in the near future. I would love to revolutionise the food industry in Bangalore by introducing authentic South East Asian food in a way it has not been offered to the city before. I would also like to introduce Asian baking (Japanese, Chinese and South East Asian) to India. Hopefully I’ll be able to do all that sometime soon.