Atul Kochhar

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Atul Kochhar
Atul Kochhar.jpg
Born (1969-08-31) 31 August 1969 (age 51)
Jamshedpur, India
Culinary career

Atul Kochhar (born 31 August 1969) is an Indian-born, British based chef, restaurateur, and television personality. His unique talent has changed the way people perceive and experience Indian cuisine. Atul was one of the first two Indian chefs to receive a Michelin star, awarded in London in 2001 whilst at Tamarind. His contemporary style and love for traditional cooking led him to open his own restaurant Benares, which won him a second Michelin star in 2007. Since then he has opened numerous successful, award-winning restaurants; Sindhu and Hawkyns in Buckinghamshire and Indian Essence in Kent. In 2018, Atul left Benares to pursue other independent ventures, most recently Kanishka in Mayfair, London which opened March 2019 and another new London site has been announced. Kochhar makes regular appearances on television shows including Saturday Kitchen, Masterchef Goes Large, Great British Menu, BBC2's Million Pound Menu and Saturday Morning with James Martin. Additionally, Atul has written a number of successful cookbooks; Simple Indian; Fish, Indian Style; Curries of the World and 30 Minute Curries.

Early life[edit]

Kochhar was born in Jamshedpur in India and began his cooking career at The Oberoi Group of hotels in India (1989–1994). He gained his diploma in Hotel Management from The Institute of Hotel Management Chennai.[1] In June 1993 Kochhar graduated to the five star deluxe Oberoi Hotel in New Delhi.[2] Here he worked as a sous Chef in one of the five restaurants in the hotel supervising a staff of 18 and immediately raising the standards in the kitchen. In January 1994 Kochhar moved to the fine dining restaurant of renowned chef Bernard Kunig. Kochhar continued his cooking career and in January 2001 at the age of 31, Kochhar was the first Indian chef to be awarded a Michelin star.[3]


Kochhar was let go from London's Benares Restaurent in 2018 after sending a series of Islamophobic tweets to actress Priyanka Chopra.[4] Atul Kochhar's contract with JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in Dubai was also terminated following these posts on Twitter.[5][6]

Kochhar opened restaurant Kanishka in March 2019 on London's Maddox Street. The Restaurant showcases Indian cuisine from the easternmost region of India, the Seven Sister States. It spans two floors with room for over 120 diners, along with an outside terrace and private garden room.[7]

Kochhar also has three other restaurants. Sindhu at The Compleat Angler in Marlow;[8] Hawkyns at The Crown Inn in Amersham[9] and Indian Essence in Petts Wood.[10]

A further London restaurant has recently been announced to open in Westminster late 2019.[11]

Awards and charity work[edit]

Atul has been awarded a number of accolades including receiving an Honorary Doctorate from University of Southampton in recognition of his work and contribution to the culinary industry.[12] Kochhar is involved with many charities, in particular Barnardo's, Great Ormond Street Hospital and Save the Children, and an Ambassador for Find Your Feet, a small charity that supports poverty stricken rural areas by developing successful poverty-relief programmes that encourage self-sufficiency and independence.[1]


Kochhar has been featured in numerous television series; most recently BBC2's Million Pound Menu where he invested in new dining concepts.[13] He previously presented a series called Curry on with Atul Kochhar on the B4U network and a series on Malaysia called Kochhar's Spice Kitchen.[14] Kochhar appeared in Masterchef Goes Large, season two and BBC2's Great British Menu in a bid to create a menu in honour of the Queen's 80th Birthday. Furthermore, he also appeared in Market Kitchen and Saturday Kitchen series 1–3.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Kochhar is a fan of cricket and enjoys mountaineering.[16] As a chef, he takes a strong stand on sustainable fishing and always uses responsibly sourced fish in his restaurants. He lives in West London with his family.


  • 30 Minute Curries (2017), Absolute Press, ISBN 9781472937773
  • Simple Indian (2016), Quadrille Publishing Ltd, ISBN 9781849498937
  • Atul's Curries of the World (2013), Absolute Press, ISBN 9781906650797
  • Fish, Indian Style (2008), Absolute Press, ISBN 9781904573838


  1. ^ a b "Atul Kochhar – The home of 2 Michelin starred chef Atul Kochhar".
  2. ^ "Profile – Oberoi Hotels & Resorts".
  3. ^ "Interview: Atul Kochhar, Michelin-starred Indian chef". 24 February 2015.
  4. ^ "Atul Kochhar 'no longer employed' by Mayfair's Benares". The Caterer. 8 August 2018.
  5. ^ "Celebrity chef Atul Kochhar in a soup for anti-Islam remarks".
  6. ^ Safi, Michael (13 June 2018). "Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar sacked over anti-Islam tweet". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  7. ^ "Indian Fine Dining Restaurant | Kanishka | Mayfair". Kanishka Restaurant, Mayfair. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  8. ^ "Sindhu Restaurant". Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  9. ^ "Hawkyns by Atul Kochhar". Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  10. ^ "Indian Essence". Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  11. ^ "Atul Kochhar to open new restaurant Mathura in former fire station". Evening Standard. 10 May 2019. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  12. ^ "A Tale of Dedication and Innovation". Hotel News ME. 2 May 2015.
  13. ^ "BBC Two – My Million Pound Menu – Who's Who? Fred and the Investors". BBC. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 June 2012. Retrieved 12 June 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Atul Kochhar". BBC.
  16. ^ "Atul Kochhar ~ A Culinary Genius". DESIblitz. 27 October 2017.

External links[edit]