Nisha Katona

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Nisha Katona
Nisha Katona sourcing supplies for Mowgli Street Food recipes.jpg
Nisha Katona
Born (1971-10-23) 23 October 1971 (age 50)
Spouse(s)Zoltan Katona
Culinary career
Cooking styleIndian
Current restaurant(s)
    • Mowgli, Bold Street, Liverpool
    • Mowgli, Corn Exchange, Manchester
    • Mowgli, Water Street, Liverpool
    • Mowgli, Grand Central, Birmingham
    • Mowgli, Westgate, Oxford
    • Mowgli, University Green, Manchester
    • Mowgli, Stoney Street, Nottingham
    • Mowgli, Ecclesall Road, Sheffield
    • Mowgli, Church Street, Cardiff
    • Mowgli, Saint Martins, Leicester
    • Mowgli, Boar Lane, Leeds
    • Mowgli, Cheshire Oaks, Cheshire
    • Mowgli, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
6th Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University
Assumed office
1 January 2022
Vice-ChancellorMark Power
Preceded byBrian Leveson

Nisha Katona, MBE (born 23 October 1971) is a British chef and TV presenter. She is the founder of Mowgli Street Food restaurants and the Mowgli Trust charity, a food writer, television presenter, she was a child protection barrister for 20 years.


Katona worked full-time as a child protection barrister for 20 years on the Northern Circuit.[1] In 2008 the Department of Culture, Media and Sport appointed her trustee of National Museums Liverpool and in 2009 she was appointed by the Cabinet Office, Ambassador for Diversity in Public Appointments.[2] She then switched to teaching about Indian cuisine.[3] She founded Mowgli Street Food restaurants in the UK, and also founded and chairs the Mowgli Trust, which donates over £300,000 to local and world charities every year.[4][5][6]

Katona is the author of three cookbooks: Pimp My Rice, The Spice Tree, and The Mowgli Street Food: Authentic Indian Street Food. Her fourth book, The 30-Minute Mowgli was released on 9 November 2021. She regularly appears on television and radio including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Food Network, and Radio 4's The Kitchen Cabinet.

On 1 January 2022, Katona was appointed Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University. She is the first alumni of the University to become Chancellor and replaces Sir Brian Leveson who will become Emeritus Chancellor.[7]

In July 2021, Katona was selected to join the newly formed Hospitality Council, a team of leading industry experts assembled to deliver the government’s Hospitality Strategy.[8] The strategy aim's to help hospitality firms to re-open, recover and become more resilient following the pandemic.

Earlier life[edit]

Katona grew up in Ormskirk. She studied at Scarisbrick Hall School and then read law at Liverpool John Moores University,[9] where she also met her future husband Zoltán Katona.[10] Katona qualified as a barrister at the Inns of Court School of Law in 1996, and is a member of Lincoln's Inn.[9]

Katona worked full-time as a Barrister[11] in Liverpool's Chavasse Court Chambers. In 2008 the Department of Culture, Media and Sport appointed her as a trustee of National Museums Liverpool where she sat on the full board, along with Audit and Marketing. In 2009 the Cabinet Office appointed her Ambassador for Diversity in Public Appointments.


Katona films regularly for the BBC, Channel 4, ITV and The Food Network. Appearances have been on Lorraine, Sunday Brunch,[12] Secret Chef, My Kitchen Rules, My Spice Kitchen and her own Indian food travelogue for the BBC Recipes that made me.

She regularly appears as guest chef on This Morning - ITV,[13] guest panelist on The Kitchen Cabinet - BBC Radio 4, and on BBC and Sky News as a guest expert on matters relating to business and hospitality.

On 14 February 2021, a 10-part culinary travel series called A Taste of Italy premiered on Channel 4 and More 4, and presented by Katona.[14]

On 16 March 2021, she was a guest judge on the Interior Design Masters semi-final in which the designers made over a pair of restaurants in Hebden Bridge.[15]

On 13 July 2021, Katona was one of the professional chefs on ITV's Cooking with the Stars. The six part series saw her train her celebrity partner (Harry Judd) in preparing dishes which were then judged. In the final episode Harry Judd was named the winner.[16]

On 10 August 2021, Katona appeared as guest chef on BBC 1's Masterchef, challenging four celebrities to cook an Indian recipe from her menu.[17]

On 6 September 2021, it was announced that Katona will be one of the members of the new judging panel of Great British Menu joining former GBM champion Tom Kerridge, and comedian and food podcaster Ed Gamble.[18]



Mowgli Street Food restaurants
Location Opened
Mowgli, Bold Street, Liverpool 2014
Mowgli, Corn Exchange, Manchester 2015
Mowgli, Water Street, Liverpool 2016
Mowgli, Grand Central, Birmingham 2017
Mowgli, Westgate, Oxford 2018
Mowgli, Stoney Street, Nottingham 2018
Mowgli, University Green, Manchester 2019
Mowgli, Ecclesall Road, Sheffield 2019
Mowgli, Church Street, Cardiff 2019
Mowgli, St Martins, Leicester 2019
Mowgli, Boar Lane, Leeds 2020
Mowgli, Cheshire Oaks, Ellesmere Port 2021
Mowgli, The Brewery Quarter, Cheltenham 2021
Mowgli, Charlotte Street, London 2021
Mowgli, St Vincent Street, Glasgow (Opening 2022)
Mowgli, Hanover Street, Edinburgh (Opening 2022)
Mowgli, Corn Street, Bristol (Opening 2022)
Mowgli, Duke Lane, Brighton (Opening 2022)

Awards and honours[edit]

  • Best Companies Awards 2021 - The UK’s Top 100 Best Large Companies to work for - Rank #28.[19]
  • Casual Dining Awards 2020 - The Trailblazer of the Year Award.[20]
  • Honorary Doctor of Business Administration - Edge Hill University (2019).[21]
  • Honorary Fellow - Liverpool John Moores University (2019).[22]
  • MBE - (New Year Honours 2019) Honoured for services to the food industry.[23]
  • The LDC Top 50 Most Ambitious Business Leaders, 2019.[24]
  • The Sunday Times Fast Track 100 2019 - Best Emerging Brand Award.[25]
  • The Sunday Times Fast Track 100 2019 - Best Management Team Award.[26]
  • The Sunday Times Fast Track 100 2019 - Rank #45.[27]
  • The Sunday Times Fast Track 100 2018 - Rank #17.[28]
  • Retailers’ Retailer Winner 2018 - Emerging Concept.[29]
  • Wireless Social's Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, 2018.[30]
  • Business of the Year, City of Liverpool Business Awards - 2018.
  • Best Medium Sized Business, North West Business Masters Awards - 2018.
  • Maserati Top 100, People's choice [31]


  1. ^ "The people who changed careers and never looked back". BBC News. 4 December 2017. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Nisha Katona and Sir Robert Crawford CBE reappointed as Trustees of National Museums Liverpool". HM Government. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  3. ^ "Nisha Katona: a great judge of flavour". Telegraph_Media_Group. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  4. ^ "Leading restaurant cooks up a massive donation to The Clatterbridge Cancer Charity". The Clatterbridge Cancer Charity. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Celebrating our Partnership with Mowgli Street Food". Maggies. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  6. ^ "THE MOWGLI TRUST - Charity 1173842". Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  7. ^ "Our next Chancellor". Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  8. ^ "New Hospitality Council to guide the sector's recovery". GOV.UK. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  9. ^ a b Evans, Peter. "How I Made It: Nisha Katona, founder of Mowgli". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  10. ^ Celine Byford (11 August 2021). "Celebrity MasterChef: Who is Nisha Katona?". Reality Titbit. Retrieved 29 October 2021.
  11. ^ Evans, Peter. "How I Made It: Nisha Katona, founder of Mowgli". News UK. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  12. ^ "Nisha Katona". Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  13. ^ Katona, Nisha [@NishaKatona] (18 March 2021). "On @thismorning morning @itv next Wednesday the 24th I am doing a hauntingly magical Butternut and Spinach curry. I cannot tell you how ridiculously excited I am to introduce you to 2 new spices-so to cook along please go out and buy fenugreek seeds and asafoetida, turmeric Chili" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 7 May 2021. Retrieved 30 May 2022 – via Twitter.
  14. ^ "Channel 4 serves up A Taste of Italy". Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  15. ^ Katona, Nisha [@NishaKatona] (16 March 2021). "I'm joining @chattyman and @mogundehin on Interior Design Masters tonight at 8pm on BBC2 - I design every single brick and seat of every Mowgli. The experience of diners from walking past to deciding whether to return is my absolute passion tune in and see what you reckon 😁" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 16 March 2021. Retrieved 30 May 2022 – via Twitter.
  16. ^ "Cooking with the Stars celebrity line-up: Meet the ITV show's famous contestants and chefs". Radio Times. Retrieved 23 September 2021.
  17. ^ "BBC One - Celebrity MasterChef, Series 16, Episode 2". BBC. Retrieved 23 September 2021.
  18. ^ "Tom Kerridge, Nisha Katona and Ed Gamble announced as new judging panel on BBC Two's Great British Menu". BBC Media Centre. Retrieved 6 September 2021.
  19. ^ "Best Companies | Mowgli Street Food". Retrieved 24 June 2021.
  20. ^ Jones, Emma-Louise (20 February 2020). "UK's best pubs & restaurants revealed at the Casual Dining Awards 2020". Casual Dining Show. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  21. ^ "Restaurant owner and top judge to be awarded honorary doctorates". News. 3 December 2019. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  22. ^ "Nisha Katona MBE". Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  23. ^ "New Year Honours 2019: Mowgli founder Nisha Katona honoured". BBC News. 28 December 2018. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  24. ^ "2019". LDC. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  25. ^ TWK (17 September 2020). "Fast Track". Fast Track. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  26. ^ TWK (17 May 2019). "Fast Track". Fast Track. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  27. ^ TWK. "Fast Track". Fast Track. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  28. ^ "Fast Track 100 league table - 2018". Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  29. ^ "2018 Winners". Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  30. ^ Ross, Julian (7 September 2018). "Wireless Social's Woman Entrepreneur of the Year". wireless social. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  31. ^ Lynch, Andrew (29 April 2018). "Maserati Top 100: People's choice". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 28 September 2018.

External links[edit]