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Making dough the French way
Ganesh Nadar in Chennai | October 10, 2007
Alexis de Ducla is a chef with a degree in business management. But what sets him apart is the fact that he uses his culinary skills to help poor children in India.
Ducla, once a frequent visitor to India, has settled down in Chennai after traveling across the country. Here, he teaches the art of baking and conjuring up tasty snacks to poor students, and pays them a stipend to do so.
The idea for such a unique mission struck the Frech chef when he met Father Ceyrac, a priest who had worked with Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charities in Kolkata.
In his class in Chennai, students get free lessons on the nuances involved in baking the right cake. However, there are only boys in his class as he does not have the space to build a separate accommodation for girls.
How does he choose his students? "They have to be poor and motivated. That is the criteria for selection to this unique school," says the chef, adding, "I want to provide the best training at the minimum cost'.
His unique classes recently had their first taste of success when one of his students got a job in the Park, a high-profile hotel in Chennai.