Pastry Chef Leena Qadri knew it the moment she picked up her first whisk. It was at a cooking store and the then 16-year-old teenager was instantly smitten. Culinary ware was quickly procured and brought home and with that Qadri had plunged herself into the world of patisserie art.
As she traveled, Qadri developed a varied palate by exploring local cuisines and experimenting with native flavors. It was in France especially where the unique desserts enticed her the most and so, after studying the culinary arts at PME Knightsbridge and the International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) in Dubai that she found herself at the legendary Le Cordon Bleu taking the highest steps towards becoming a professional Pastry Chef.
Whereas Chef Leena Qadri had been baking from an early age, it wasn’t until 2009 that she took the necessary steps to enter the industry. Learning to make chocolate ganache – a notoriously difficult dessert – while at the ICCA gave her the confidence to know she belonged.
To Qadri, the joy felt whilst baking and then arranging colorful, eye-catching and fragrant desserts inspired her to expand her repertoire. Her desserts consist of flavors mixed and intertwined in delightfully innovative ways. Whether it is almond flour, pralines, scratch-made fruit purees or the cornucopia of nuts she always has at hand, Qadri is always sure to use quality ingredients. Each ingredient is chosen carefully and is employed in such a way that the flavors are enrichened and savored. Such is even true of her churros that Qadri describes as her comfort food of choice when those late-night hunger pangs strike! Amongst her specialty desserts are macarons, pistachio chocolate cakes and a heavenly flourless almond cake. As Qadri says, “I never compromise on quality, consistency or presentation.”
This is a motto that serves Chef Leena well not only in full-time job as the chef responsible for the dessert menu and weekly afternoon tea dessert buffet at Kiran’s – an upscale fine-dining Indian restaurant in the heart of Houston – but also in the cooking classes she offers through Cookery.
Just as eagerly as Pastry Chef Leena Qadri learnt from all the technical instructions she received throughout her career, is she eager to impart it. Bringing her unique get-up-and-go attitude paired with an in-depth knowledge of the ingredients that she uses; she reinforces her own skills by teaching others.
Children, in particular, are an area of considerable focus for Qadri because of their ability to learn quickly. Using the capabilities she once employed as a kindergarten teacher, Qadri crafts cooking lessons that make children instantly comfortable and eager to learn.
Through Cookery, Qadri is excited to bring her creative energy towards crafting a distinctive and flavorful place where she inspires future chefs and early learners in bringing a little bit of sweet patisserie magic into their own lives.
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