FOURty Seconds with Atul Kochhar

07 Jun 2015
2 min read
After the launch of his new book, Benares: Michelin Starred Cooking, FOUR talks to the man behind the delicious and award winning cuisine that has kept everyone talking.

Born and brought up in India, Atul mixes classic Indian food with influences from across the globe. Migrating to the UK gave him this creative freedom, which helped him shape the menu he proudly cooks today. From Punjabi lamb shanks to cauliflower and mangetout stir-fry to spiced tea soufflés; across starters, mains, desserts, sides and accompaniments – each heavenly taste is a tribute to this master’s work.

Atul’s new book brings you closer to recreating Michelin star food in your own home. In eighty signature dishes, Atul presents his excellent food ethos. This ethos includes respecting the seasons, nurturing the ingredients through understanding and only use the most suitable techniques.

What are your earliest memories of being interested in food?

I grew up in house that was into food business. My grand dad was a baker and my dad had a catering business. So getting into food was natural for me.

Tell us a bit about your new book Benares…

I have poured my years of work into this book. It has been a journey writing this book. This book in lot of ways will pave the way for modern Indian cooking. This is definitely not the first or the last – but it will become a good stepping stone for next wave of chefs.

What would you say has inspired your cooking the most?

My family, my father, some amazing chefs like Albert and MichelRoux (Snr & Jr), Raymond Blanc, Marco Pierre White, Manjit Singh Gill, Jiggs Kalra, and many more.Above all, mother nature has been a great teacher. Some of my own chefs like Jitin Joshi, Bala, Naveen Prasad, Gaurav Bajaj, Sameer Taneja, Saurav Nath and Santosh Mistry have been partners in crime and go to persons over the years at Benares.

Describe how you see your own culinary style and how it has evolved over the years…

My culinary style is mixture of old and new. I don’t let go my tradition but I am good to experiment with the new ingredients and techniques.

What are your most indispensable ingredients?

Desire to learn and create is the only ingredient you need.

What kind of experience do you aim to give guests at the restaurant?

Giving my guests an amazing comfortable time at Benares that will go down in their memory as one of the special moments.

What would you say has been the most memorable moment in your culinary career so far?

Getting my first Michelin star is my most memorable moment.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self, starting out a career in the world of food?

I would dedicate more time to training and learning. I had very little to grow up to command the kitchen – it has been good, but it has been tough.

What’s next for you?

Opening Benares Madrid this summer is on the cards and it will keep me out of mischiefs.

What restaurant is currently at the top of your list to dine at?

Gaggan’s at Bangkok and while I am there I want to see my friend David Thompson at his restaurant Nahm.

Find out more information about Benares book launch here |