Darjeeling Express’s Founder Asma Khan

Jul/25/2023 / by Team Seema
Image credits: Wikimedia Commons

About Asma Khan

Asma Khan, chef, is the founder and owner of Darjeeling Express, a restaurant located in London, England. She stands tall as an inspiration to all who love the delight of lovingly-cooked and prepared Indian cuisine. As an award-winning author of a cookbook, she enjoys helping others succeed, especially those from diverse backgrounds. In addition to her achievements as an author and entrepreneur, she is the recipient of numerous awards and special lists. She continues to push the boundaries as she advocates for social change.

The Fortnum & Mason 2019 awards shortlisted Asma’s Indian Kitchen for best debut cookbook.

She is the first British chef to be a part of Netflix’s Chef’s Table. In its sixth season, where her episode appears, the series received nomination for an Emmy. It was part of the Outstanding Documentary section. The episode with her appearance received a 2020 James Beard Award nomination.

She now has two books that are out; one is Asma’s Indian Kitchen and the most recent book is Ammu: Indian Home-Cooking To Nourish Your Soul, published by Ebury Press in March of 2022.

Another outstanding honor is that Business Insider named her number 1 on their list of “100 Coolest People in Food and Drink”. She also made the list by The Progress 1000 as one of London’s most influential people in 2019. She has inclusion in the eighth edition of the GG2 Power List which profiles Britain’s 101 most influential Asians. Another accolade is that she is the first chef to be on Vogue’s list of 25 Most Influential Women of the Year for 2020.

Asma Khan is in a marriage and is the mother of two boys. She comes from a background that is royal, Rajput on her father’s side and Bengali on her mother’s.

Asma Khan Biography

Born in Calcutta, she later moved to Cambridge in 1991. Coming from a royal background, her mother’s side was Bengali and her father’s side was Rajput. As a second daughter in an Indian family, she feels that there may not have been a lot of joy at her birth; first daughters are a prize, while the second daughter is not. Breaking through any expectations attached to her family, she studied law in college, and she went on to earn her PhD in London at King’s College. Growing up in a family where both her parents worked, she often watched her mother, who ran a food business. However, she did not learn to cook at home.

She loved playing cricket and did not see marriage as her only option, surprising some mothers of sons who thought her scandalous at that time. It was a time of Indian prearranged marriages for royals, but for her, it was a time of playing cricket on the streets with children from the slums.

Later realizing her passion for cooking, her career in food began with a supper club in her home in 2012. Three years later, she opened a pop-up restaurant in a pub in Soho. The Asma Khan Darjeeling Express restaurant first welcomed its patrons in London in June of 2017. With food cooked by an all-women staff, family recipes are the highlight of dining here. Authentic recipes may go back for several generations.

Soon after the restaurant, she wrote her first cookbook, “Asma’s Indian Kitchen”. It had publishing by Pavilion in October of 2018. Gourmand World Cookbook Awards awarded it a prize in the U.K. category of food publishing.


Where is Asma Khan now?

She lives in London, England and travels for speaking engagements.

When did Darjeeling Express Open?

Darjeeling Express opened in London in 2017. Before that she had a pop-up restaurant that was inside a pub.

When did Asma Khan start her career?

She began her career in food in 2012, with a supper club in her home. Before that, she received a PhD in British Constitutional Law at King’s College in London.


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