Pondicheri is the old French name of a city in South India now called Puducherry (formally known as Pondicherry or fondly nicknamed as Pondi). Why did we name it that? Well, it’s a long story…
Close to when construction was starting in 2010, a working partner attempted to sell the company without my knowledge. Sell my baby in the womb? No way! Just like any mother would do, I gathered my resources and took over the project. Unfortunately, the intellectual property was not in my name and suddenly I was held hostage for a large sum of money to buy my name back! I cried, rebelled, went through anguished nights and finally decided to change the name. Serendipitously, one day at Indika, an oil executive regular who was also a map collector walked in with a gift for me. With their imminent retirement and downsizing looming, they wanted to find a home for one of their favorite collectible, an original 1751 map of India.
I took the beautiful map home and that night, lay it on the floor and began to pour over it. Parts of India in the 1700s were a French colony during which time Puducherry had been renamed Pondicheri. I took one look and knew we had found our new name. It sounded Indian by way of France and I could now incorporate my new founded passion about baking into the new restaurant!
I loved the word Pondicheri, it had a strong feminine feel and a warmth to it. A few days later, my brother called me and joked about whether Pondicheri was going to save me a second time? He jogged my memory… when I was around seven years I contracted stage IV malaria, which can cause permanent brain damage. After a long painful recovery, my worried mother took me to a famous ashram in Pondicherry to receive the protective blessings of the matriarch who ran the ashram. The malaria never did any brain damage and I recovered just fine… however, here I was armed with an even greater reason to name the restaurant Pondicheri.