Chef Patron of the highly acclaimed Benares restaurant in London, Atul Kochhar rose to fame as one the first Indian chefs to win a coveted Michelin star.
The Indian born, British-based chef, restaurateur and television personality started his career in 1993, at the prestigious Oberoi hotel group in India. Working as a sous chef and supervising a team of 18, Atul was credited with significantly raising standards in the kitchen. This led to his move to renowned Hilton chef Bernard Kunig’s restaurant in 1994. Building on his fine-dining experience, later that year Atul made the move to London to open Tamarind restaurant. Here his culinary excellence was recognised and during Atul’s tenure as Head Chef, he was awarded his first Michelin star in 2001.
Paving the way for his first independent venture, Atul left Tamarind in 2002 and in April 2003 opened Benares Restaurant & Bar, named after Northern India’s spiritual city, in London’s prestigious Mayfair. With a focus on combining his heritage and love of British ingredients, Atul’s innovative modern Indian cuisine successfully redefined the perception of Indian cooking in Britain, leading to his second Michelin star in 2007, an accolade which he has retained at Benares ever since.
The appetite for Atul’s unique understanding of Indian flavours in modern British food has since reached global heights. In 2012 the chef teamed up with fellow restaurateur Jitindar Singh to launch India Essence, a neighbourhood restaurant in Kent, which was shortly followed by fine-dining restaurants in Mauritius and Dubai. Atul’s international success has continued on the seas, with a unique collaboration with P&O cruises. Most recently, in November 2014, Atul opened Sindhu, a traditional Indian restaurant with a contemporary twist, at Macdonald Compleat Angler in Marlow (Buckinghamshire).
With regular return trips to his native country, Atul ensures that his creative dishes constantly evolve and continue to surprise and delight the senses. He has had the honour to cook for Prince Charles at St. James’ Palace and was invited to meet HM The Queen. Dedicating time outside of the kitchen to philanthropic endeavours Atul has worked with The Prince’s Trust and stands as an ambassador to The British Asian Trust to support high impact charities in South Asia and the UK.
Author of several cookbooks, Atul has been a consultant chef for Marks & Spencer and has also made numerous television appearances. When not busy with one of his various projects, the chef enjoys spending time at home in London with his wife Deepti and their two young children.