5 Michelin Star Indian Chefs Who Are Culinary Powerhouses
Five Michelin-starred Indian chefs who have received the honor that is called the Oscars of the culinary world.
The 2018 list of Michelin Star restaurants in London features two new entries — chef Vineet Bhatia’s flagship restaurant in Chelsea, called Vineet Bhatia London, and The Leela Group’s first standalone restaurant in the city, Jamavar. This follows the entry of Veeraswamy, the city’s oldest Indian restaurant, into the club last year.
And if you thought the Om Puri, Helen Mirren-starrer The Hundred-Foot Journey overplayed the significance of a Michelin star in a chef’s life, well, you were so off the mark. The rating, which has been awarded by the French tyre company Michelin to a select few restaurants every year for over a century, can instantly catapult an establishment to prominence. While the ratings have often faced allegations of showing prejudice in favor of French cuisine and leniency with stars for Japanese food, the Indian chefs who have won this accolade have undeniably deserved to be placed among the best in the world.
Here are five Indian chefs who have received the honor that has for good reason been called the Oscars of the culinary world.
The only Indian chef in the world to have won two Michelin stars, Gopinathan has been much lauded for his unique Californian-Indian cuisine at Campton Place Restaurant at San Francisco’s Taj Campton Place hotel. He earned the coveted Michelin star six years in a row, and went from one star to two in 2016. Gopinathan, who grew up being influenced by the exotic spices of Southern India that filled the air of his childhood home, is now known for his refined version of contemporary Cal-Indian cuisine.
Indian food had remained unrecognized by Michelin for a long time until 2001 when Atul Kochhar received one during his tenure as head chef at Tamarind in Mayfair, London. He topped that with another Michelin star in 2007 for his highly acclaimed Benares Restaurant & Bar in Mayfair. Kochhar went ahead to open several other popular restaurants around the world, including Ananda in Dublin, Rang Mahal in Dubai, Benares Madrid in the Spanish city, and NRI and LIMA restaurants in Mumbai, and has even cooked for Prince Charles at St James’s Palace. The 47-year-old chef, who was born in Jamshedpur and studied hotel management in Chennai, is known for his unique fusion of Indian flavors in modern British food.
One of the most well-known faces for Indian cuisine in the world, Bhatia was born and brought up in Mumbai and worked for a few years as a chef in India. He moved to London in 1993 and opened Zaika in 1999. In 2001, the Kensington High Street restaurant was awarded a Michelin star. His establishment Rasoi by Vineet in Geneva – Rasoi also received a Michelin Star in 2009.
Holding a Michelin star for over a decade, Prasad has been the force behind Tamarind of Mayfair, Imli Street, and Zaika of Kensington in London, and Tamarind of London at Newport Beach, California. Prasad was born in Wardha in Maharashtra and grew up at several places in the subcontinent. He graduated from Chennai’s Institute of Hotel Management in 1993, following which he worked at top restaurants like Dum Pukht and Bukhara at ITC Maurya in New Delhi, and Dakshin at ITC Park Sheraton in Chennai before moving to London in 1999.
The face of Taj’s Quilon, which specializes in south-west Indian cuisine, Aylur joined the restaurant in London in 1999. The restaurant won a Michelin star in 2008. The 52-year-old chef was born in Palakkad and grew up in Mumbai. He launched the Karavalli restaurant at Taj Gateway in Bengaluru before moving to London to open Quilon, which is one of the largest importers of South Indian spices in the UK. He also oversees London’s Bombay Brasserie.