Eating is a very cherished experience in India. There exists a wide variety of amazingly delicious cuisines and every town has its own special eateries for you to explore. Indian Chefs have broken the stereotype of housewives cooking food for their families and established cooking as an Art form in India. India now boasts of some incredibly talented male as well as female chefs. Let’s look at some of the most popular ones here:
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Grew up being surrounded by large family feats in a Punjabi Family, Vikas Khanna developed the love for food and cooking from his grandmother. At the young age of 17, he started his own venture called Lawrence Gardens which was a catering and banquet business. He then went on to be trained under prestigious chefs from Oberoi Sheraton, Taj Group of Hotels, Leela Kempenski and many more. He was referred to as “The Hottest Chef of America” by People Magazine in 2011. The restaurateur and cookbook writer has hosted TV shows like MasterChef of India and Twist of Taste, and has appeared in many others like Gordon Ramsay TV Show, Hell’s Kitchen, Throwdown with Bobby Flay, MasterChef Australia and numerous others. He has received many awards and honours like Michelin star for his restaurant Junoon, GQ India Man of the year 2012, and "Rising Star Chef Award by Star Chefs for his role in shaping the future of American Cuisine" in 2011.
2. Sanjeev Kapoor
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Probably the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine, Sanjeev Kapoor is the joint owner of a very popular Food Channel named “Food Food”. He gained popularity from “Khana Khazana” which is the longest running cookery show of Aisa. He did a diploma in Hotel Management and entered the hospitality industry in 1984. He played a very significant role in empowering women to use their cooking skills and develop it as an Art. He opened his first restaurant in 2001, The Yellow Chilli which has outlets in many cities today. He too has received many awards and recognition worldwide like the Best Executive Chef of India Award by H & FS and the Mercury Gold Award by Indian Federation of Culinary Associations. He has also been recruited as one of the members of International Culinary Panel of Singapore Airlines. He has also received the Padma Shri in 2017 for his culinary contributions.
3. Atul Kochar
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The cook began his career at the Oberoi Group of Hotels of India and gained a diploma in Hotel Management. The first Indian to receive Michelin star, Atul Kochar is one of the most critically praised chefs in Britain on his take on contemporary Indian Cuisine. He has also appeared on television shows like MasterChef goes large and Great British Menu. For his contribution to the culinary industry, he received the Honorary Doctorate Degree from the University of Southampton. Additionally, at the British curry awards, he received the Outstanding Contribution to the Curry industry in 2005 and the TMG Cordon Bleu Award in 2010.
4. Ritu Dalmia
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The celebrity chef and restaurateur developed a liking for Italian cuisine when she moved to Italy for her family business work. She then started learning cooking and eventually went on to become a very popular chef. Her first restaurant was started in 1993, when she was 22, called ‘MezzaLuna’ that specialised in Mediterranean cuisine that had an Italian accent in Delhi. Her food travel cookbook Travelling Diva: Recipes from around the World was published in 2012 and featured her favourite recipes in European, Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines and the stories behind them. Her TV show that aired on NDTV Good Times, “Italian Khana” won numerous television awards. She has been honoured with the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity award by the Government of Italy in 2011.
5. Tarla Dalal
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Writer of over a hundred books with a selling of over 3million copies, the Indian chef specialised in Gujarati and Bengali cuisine. The most sold cookbook author in India, Tarla Dalal started cooking classes from her home which eventually brought her to writing her first cookbook, ‘The pleasures of Vegetarian cooking’, of which over 15,00,000 copies have been sold. She was popular for making vegetarian versions of many non-vegetarian dishes and also popularising foreign cuisines among Indian masses. In 2007, she became the only Indian women from the felid of cooking to receive the Padma Shri from the Government of India. Indian Merchants’ Chamber awarded her Women of the Year in 2005.
These are certainly the most loved chefs in India. With their skills of combining classical dishes with global cuisines and still maintaining authentic flavours, these chefs have made the Indian Culinary Industry very proud.