FOURty Seconds with Atul Kochhar

28 Aug 2015
3 min read
With the imminent opening of his new Benares outpost in Madrid, FOUR speaks to award-winning chef, Atul Kochhar about his Spanish inspired dishes, why he loves the Spanish capital and what keeps him inspired…

Tell us about your newest venture, Benares, in Madrid…

After waiting for many years – we are ready to have another Benares in Madrid.It is a very special restaurant and the site itself lends so well to the whole concept of Benares and its food.

What made you make the move to the Spanish capital?

Since Spanish cuisine has had an upheaval in last 5-6 years, Spain has always intrigued me. The cuisine, culture and its people are very fascinating. I find Madrid to be very cosmopolitan as well which has prompted me to look for a restaurant here. I see Madrid as the culinary capital of Southern Europe…

What can guests expect at the new restaurant?

Benares Madrid is going to be a place where Spanish people will enjoy my point of view about Indian food.The restaurant will have a bar area, with a kind of tapas menu and cocktail menu and a complete gin collection; and a restaurant area (360m2) with a la carte and tasting menu options.Wines are important at Benares: we’ll have a wine room with around 150 selected labels. As we are experts in pairing fine wine with Indian food, we’ll offer this opportunity to our guests.

Flavours is what we humans like. Some new flavours – once introduced well can become and addiction and I sincerely hope that I will be able to seduce Spanish people with the gentle aromas and delicate flavours of my cooking.

Have you decided on the menu?

The menu is going to be intriguing. I would like to highlight Tandoori Pulpo, South Indian Style Pork Belly, Tandoori Chicken, Rajasthani Beef Steak and many more. As there are a lot of different specialities, I recommend to Tty our tasting menu – that would be the best introduction to Indian food.

What would you say has inspired your cooking the most?

Apart from my training and living in the most exciting times of food’s history, my own culture and cuisine that has always blended in well with other cultures has been my huge source of inspiration. Indian cuisine is not only an amazing amalgamation but it’s an ever evolving cuisine. India has kept me on my toes when it comes to learning.

I find thesame energy in Spain and that makes me so happy – as it feels so close to home!

What are your earliest memories of being interested in food?

Iwas born in the family that was into food business–so it was natural for me to step into culinary world.

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

I would like to call my food contemporary Indian cuisine.It involves all the traditional aspects of Indian cuisine but embracing modernism. A natural way of growing – ever evolving & adapting.

What are your most indispensable ingredients?

Ones enthusiasm and quest of learning. If you don’t have that – you have got nothing.

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

Working with some amazing chefs world wide has given me a huge learning curve – but working with my father in the kitchen use to give me shiver in my spine in spite of many years of working with him.He was an amazing cook who was self taught but knew exactly – how to conduct his work.

What’s next for you?

For now – Madrid is all I can see. I take one step at a time.

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

My list is endless and I am eager to explore more of Spanish restaurants. I have come here with an urge of a new student who has peering eyes and humungous appetite for education. Spain is so right fitting for me with its amazing culture, cuisine and its wealth of unique ingredients.