India is well-established on the global culinary map. But it takes more than the rich and diverse proffering of traditional Indian fare to maintain this position: These chefs, over years of work in the kitchen, have maintained this position by bringing their individual skills and combining classic dishes with global cuisines while maintaining the authentic flavours.
Here are some of the best chefs that India has produced.
Known as India's most stylish chef, this Punjabi lad’s first experience with cooking was at a Gurudwara’s langar at the age of six. He has gathered most of his culinary education from the old streets in Lucknow, that he put to good use in Boston (he launched Banq – a French Asian resto that won the best new restaurant in the world award by Wallpaper magazine). In recent years, has gone on to host five TV shows, and is also a judge on MasterChef India Season 4.
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The award-winning Michelin star chef boasts humble beginnings: he started his culinary journey in his grandmother's kitchen in Amritsar. Khanna has worked with some of the best chefs around the world, including Gordon Ramsey, and Bobby Flay. Based in New York where he runs his popular restaurant, Junoon, Khanna has also hosted a dinner for US President Barack Obama. In 2011, he was named 'Sexiest Man Alive' by People Magazine.
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Often referred to as the 'Queen of Curries', Madhur Jaffrey is not just a culinary genius, but also an actress, having appeared in over 20 films. She has written over 15 cookery books: her first book 'An Invitation to Indian Cookery' was published in 1973.
The first Indian chef to win a Michelin star, Atul Kochhar's modern take on Indian cuisine has curried a lot of favour in in England: he launched Benares in 2003 in London, followed by Ananda in Ireland and Vatika in Southhampton. An advocator of organic products, he always uses responsibly sourced fish in each of his restaurants.
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Co-owner of the popular restaurant Diva (in New Delhi), Ritu Dalmia hails from Kolkata. She fell in love with Italian food during her travels to Italy as a teenager. Although she never underwent professional training, Dalmia is one of India's best recognised faces in the culinary world, having hosted her own shows, 'Italian Khana,' and 'Travelling Diva'. She also launched Depot 29, in Safdarjung Enclave last year.
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Sanjeev Kapoor is, perhaps, one of the best recognised faces (with or without his moustache) in the Indian culinary world. His show 'Khana Khazana' is one of the longest-running cookery shows in Asia. He recently broke the world record for the world's largest imarti and jalebi (Indian sweetmeats).
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Even after her demise in 2013, Tarla Dalal is a legendary name recognised across most Indian kitchens: Dalal started her career by hosting cooking classes at her own home in 1966, after getting married. She went on to published her first cookbook in 1974, 'The Pleasures of Vegetarian Cooking'. Specialising in Gujrati cuisine, and healthy cooking, she has produced over 100 cookbooks.
Restaurateur and author Hari Nayak started his journey from the Culinary Institute of America, Popular for his unique epicurean style in North America, he is also celebrated for his preference of simple cooking over intricate, messy recipes. He has authored 'Modern Indian Cooking' and 'My Indian Kitchen', as well as 'Easy Indian Cooking'.
Having founded the largest Indian publishing house of cookbooks, Nita Mehta has published over 600 cookbooks, with three of her cookbooks winning international awards. She also conducts various cooking programmes across many countries, and her cooking institute in Delhi, Nita Mehta Cooking Classes is wildly popular.
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The proud face behind Indian Accent (a luxurious Delhi-based eatery), Manish Mehrotra has always been appreciated for for his contemporary additions to traditionally heavy Indian cuisine. He has several awards to his name, including winning 'Foodistan', a television cooking game show by NDTV GoodTimes, Best Chef of 2010 and 2012, HT City Crystal Awards, American Express Best Chef of the Year, and a Vir Sanghvi Award.
This young gun has been creating waves in the food industry with his TV shows 'Roti Rasta aur India,' and 'Healthy Fridge'. He created his first jalebi at the age of 12, and has never looked back. Excelling in Italian cuisine, Goila also loves to suprise his fans with moderns twists to classic Indian fare. He holds a Limca World Record for the longest road journey by a chef ( he travelled 20,000 kilometres across India by road in 100 days).