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Atul Kochhar (born 31 August 1969) is an Indian-born, British based chef, restaurateur, and television personality. Atul was the first Indian chef to receive a Michelin star, awarded in London in 2001. Kochhar appears on television shows including Masterchef Goes Large and Great British Menu. He is also a regular guest on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen and in 2010 launched his own series: Atul’s Spice Kitchen: Malaysia.

Atul Kochhar
Atul Kochhar.jpg
Born (1969-08-31) 31 August 1969 (age 49)
Jamshedpur, India
Culinary career


Early lifeEdit

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]


Benares Restaurant and Bar opened in May 2003 and has since come to be regarded as one of the world’s best Indian restaurants.[citation needed] Benares is known for modern Indian cuisine with a delicate use of spices to create outstanding dishes.[4] The name Benares originates from the Indian city Varanasi on the banks of the River Ganges in Uttar Pradesh, regarded as a holy city by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. Benares Restaurant and Bar, opened in May 2003 to great critical acclaim[citation needed] and has emerged as one of London’s best restaurants. In 2009 the restaurant endured a kitchen fire that resulted in extensive smoke damage, causing the restaurant to close for three months to undergo a complete interior refurbishment. Benares reopened its doors in January 2010 reinventing the look and features of the space. The restaurant now seats 80 people and claims to have the largest private dining room in Mayfair.[4]

In 2008 Kochhar opened his first restaurant in Ireland, called Ananda – meaning eternal joy –in the Dundrum Town Centre on the outskirts of Dublin.[5] That year he also opened Vatika Restaurant located in Southampton situated on Wickham Vineyard. Vatika focuses on serving cutting edge cuisine using locally sourced and freshly prepared ingredients which gives rise to modern British food with a unique Indian twist. In September 2011 Vatika closed and Kochhar is currently[when?] looking at locations to reopen Vatika in London.[6]

Kochhar also has a restaurant on the P&O cruise ship Azura, called Sindhu and more recently[when?] opened another aboard Ventura. Sindhu is one of Azura’s three select dining restaurants and the name signifies the river Indus, meaning "meeting point" or "fusion" in Hindi. Kochhar spends a minimum of 20 days a year aboard the ship and overseeing the restaurant.[7]

In 2012, the Rang Mahal in Dubai's JW Marriott Marquis Hotel opened.[8]

Kochhar also owns Simply India in The St. Regis Mauritius Resort and Indian Essence in Petts Wood.[citation needed]

Awards and charity workEdit

Both Atul and Benares have been awarded a number of accolades including Atul receiving an Honorary Doctorate Degree from University of Southampton to recognise the work that he has contributed to the culinary industry.[9] Kochhar is involved in the children’s charities 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.[10]


Kochhar has also been featured in numerous television series; most recently he is presenting a new series called Curry on with Atul Kochhar on the B4U network and in October 2010 he presented a series on Malaysia called Kochhar’s Spice Kitchen.[11] Kochhar also 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.[12]

Personal lifeEdit

Kochhar is a fan of cricket and enjoys mountaineering. 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 EndeavoursEdit

The Prince's Trust 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.

Michelin star chef undertakes Antarctica expedition for Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity On 27th December, 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 last year and on his return said; ‘never again’, however his quest and urge to support the hospital has given 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.

In February 2004 his daughter was born but quickly became unwell and admitted to intensive care, due to Meconium on her lungs. After a harrowing number of days, she was transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital to undergo a lifesaving operation. She proceeded to spend three months at the hospital, under the expert care of the exceptional team, before being allowed home to make a full recovery. Today she is a bright and confident teenager.

Kochhar said: “My daughter didn’t have the best start to life, but we were incredibly fortunate and grateful that Great Ormond Street Hospital were there for us. I want to do my bit to ensure Great Ormond Street Hospital is there for every child that needs its services. I’m excited and nervous about my second trip to Antarctica but I’m looking forward to cooking for a special group of people, in order to raise as much money as possible.” [13]

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.’ [14]


  1. ^ "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. ^ a b "Benares Michelin Star Indian Restaurant London". Benares.
  5. ^ Ananda Official site
  6. ^ Vatika Official site
  7. ^ Cruises, P&O. "Azura Cruise Ship & Cruise Deals - P&O Cruises".
  8. ^ "Rang Mahal by Atul Kochhar - JW Marriott Marquis Dubai".
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Atul Kochhar – The home of 2 Michelin starred chef Atul Kochhar".
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 June 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-12.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Atul Kochhar". BBC.
  13. ^ . Hospitality and Catering news. 05/12/2018 Check date values in: |date= (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ Kochhar, Atul. "Mr". Action Against Hunger. Action Against Hunger. Retrieved 29/01/19. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)

External linksEdit