Atul Kochhar

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Atul Kochhar
Atul Kochhar.jpg
Born (1969-08-31) 31 August 1969 (age 50)
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 the first Indian chef 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 left Benares in 2018 after sending a series of Islamaphobic tweets to actress Priyanka Chopra.[4] He was also sacked by the Rang Mahal hotel in response to his tweets[5]

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.[6]

Kochhar also has three other restaurants. Sindhu at The Compleat Angler in Marlow;[7] Hawkyns at The Crown Inn in Amersham[8] and Indian Essence in Petts Wood.[9]

A further London restaurant has recently been announced to open in Westminster late 2019.[10]

Awards and charity work[edit]

Atul has been awarded a number of accolades including receiving an Honorary Doctorate Degree from University of Southampton in recognition of his work and contribution to the culinary industry.[11] 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.[12] 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.[13] 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.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Kochhar is a fan of cricket and enjoys mountaineering.[15] 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.

Philanthropic Endeavours[edit]

The Prince's Trust Atul has had the privilege to cook for Prince Charles at St. James’ Palace, as well as having been personally invited to meet HM The Queen during one of the President of India's official visits. 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.

Michelin star chef undertakes Antarctica expedition for Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity On 27th December 2018, chef Atul Kochhar embarked on his second mission to Antarctica, to cook for a special group of guests, to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity. Atul undertook the treacherous journey to Antarctica in 2017 and on his return said; ‘never again’, however his quest and urge to support the hospital gave him the motivation to return with Q Experiences. Atul has been a dedicated supporter of Great Ormond Street Hospital for over a decade and has seen first-hand the exceptional work they do.[16]

Twice Michelin Starred Chef Atul Kochhar has supported Action Against Hunger for many years, helping the charity to promote their humanitarian work through the media, campaigning for an end to child hunger as part of the Enough Food for Everyone If campaign, and participating in the annual flagship campaign, Love Food Give Food. As Atul said: ‘For those of us fortunate enough to work with food every day, and never experience hunger, it’s so, so important to do what we can for those less fortunate.’ [17]


  • 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


External links[edit]