These days every industry seems to churn out its quota of celebrity experts. Business entrepreneurs have Lord Alan Sugar, property professionals have Kirsty and Phil, and retailers have Mary Portas. All of these celebs, and many more like them, have been doing what they do for a long time and have earned a reputation for being pretty good at it. The culinary world is no different – except, perhaps for the fact that there seems to be a never-ending supply of celebrity chefs. Not that we’re complaining; it’s great to be inspired in the kitchen by people who know a thing or two about cooking great food.
India’s most celebrated chefs are becoming as well known outside of India as they are in the country. Many are responsible for making Indian food as popular as it is today. Here we look at a few of these food enthusiasts and celebrate their work (which is also damn tasty).
A household name in India, Sanjeev Kapoor is the presenter of Khana Khazana, the longest running cookery show on TV in Asia. Sanjeev has hosted every episode since it launched in 1993 and the show is aired in more than 100 different countries. Sanjeev is one of India’s top chefs.
Specialising in vegetarian cookery, Tarla Dalal is India’s best-selling author of cook books. Her first book, The Pleasures of Vegetarian Cooking, was published in 1974 and was an instant success. Since then she has written dozens more and sold millions of copies. As well as her books, she also has one of the largest and most comprehensive Indian cooking websites around.
A British Indian food writer and TV chef, Anjum Anand is considered one of the first chefs to focus on healthy Indian cuisine. Driven by personal experience of having weight problems while growing up, Anjum takes traditional rich Indian dishes and adapts them for the health conscious cook. She has been described as the Nigella Lawson of Indian cuisine in Britain.
Vikas Khanna started on his journey towards a culinary career by helping his grandmother in her kitchen. From there he started developing recipes and working in a number of high quality restaurants and hotels in India. He moved to New York in 2000 where he now works as a chef, writer and humanitarian.
No list of well-known Indian chefs would be complete without including Madhur Jaffrey. An actor by profession, Madhur’s interest in food only started when she moved to London at the age of 19. Her first book, An Invitation to Indian Cookery, was published in 1973 and her BBC television series, Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cookery, made her a household name in the UK.
If you have as much passion for Indian food as the chefs then you will love cooking it as much as you love eating it. But if you fancy a night away from the kitchen (but not away from great Indian food) then you should book a table at one of London’s fine dining Indian restaurants.