He is a gastronomic royalty, skilled in preparing and plating dishes with his signature style. The Jamshedpur-born, London-based Atul Kochhar, the first Michelin-starred Indian chef, is considered the maestro of finesse. His latest cookbook, ‘Curry Everyday: Over 100 Simple Vegetarian Recipes from Jaipur to Japan’, shows a nature-nurture soul through 100 treasured vegetarian recipes, which Kochhar has invented. They delve deep into his travels across the world using his culinary expertise to dip into different cultures and bringing his gourmet gospel to restaurants in the UK and the Middle East.
Two weeks ago, Atul Kochhar was busy showcasing some of the recipes in the book to a 13,000-strong crowd at the annual Pub in the Park event in Royal Tunbridge Wells, England. Kochhar’s singular recipes preen on the menus of his large roster of restaurants such as Riwaz, Vaasu and Mathura, all in the UK, and Saga back home, in Gurugram. The 53-year-old chef, who has featured a vast repertoire of vegetarian dishes in his book, says, “When a stalwart like Chef Daniel Humm (of Eleven Madison Park in America) threw the entire carnivore basket out of his kitchen and declared it a vegetarian space, it was a big move,” he says.
It was a global shift towards a greener life. Kochhar spent the last two years perfecting the recipes, suggesting clever alternatives in keeping with local availability in the respective countries. From Swahili Paneer (the favourite pick of Gujaratis in Africa) to Omani flatbreads, Rolex aka rolled eggs of Uganda, the 492-page gastrotome is a resplendent visual relish. Kochhar travels through the world’s food atlas, spread across the Middle East, Africa, South America and Europe to Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam and Nepal.
Shilpi Madan for The Sunday Standard