The Top 10 Indian Chefs in the World

Aug/16/2023 / by Team Seema
Top Indian Chefs - Vineet Bhatia
Image credits: Wikimedia Commons

Chefs all over the world understand that earning a Michelin star is the pinnacle of their careers. Any restaurant that employs a three or four star Michelin chef automatically gains prestige by association. This award is given to the best restaurants in the world for being the best at what they do and the type of food they serve. A Michelin star is not easy to obtain, as they are usually awarded by anonymous diners who visit a restaurant to see if the restaurant and chefs are up to par. Reviewers base on a variety of factors, including food quality, but also consistency, hospitality, and how well the chefs perform. This rating has been in place for over a century, thanks to the same family that founded the Michelin tire company. Since the 1920s, it has been the sought-after standard by which chefs measure up after a pair of Michelin brothers hired anonymous diners to review restaurants for them. From a one-star “very good” restaurant to a three-star “exceptional cuisine,” a chef who reaches this level is truly exceptional.

With this in mind, many Indian restaurants and their chefs have attained this level of culinary expertise, and employ some of the most famous Indian chefs. Chefs who bring prestige to their Indian restaurants have a unique place in this style of culinary artistry. Let us take a look at ten Indian chefs who have received Michelin stars.

Vikas Khanna

Top Indian Chefs - Vikas Khanna
Image credits: Wikimedia Commons

Chef Khanna was born and raised in Amritsar, Punjab, and moved to the United States to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a world-renowned chef. It was a terrible misfortune that his first restaurant attempt occurred on September 11, 2001, only two miles from the World Trade Center in New York. He had to close for several months, as did many other businesses in the area, which meant the end of his restaurant. His culinary skills began to gain recognition only three years later, while working for a nonprofit James Beard House. This nonprofit was a good place for his true beginnings due to its reputation for promoting chefs. In 2006, he opened another small restaurant, Spice Route, and received an invitation to appear on Kitchen Nightmares by Chef Gordon Ramsay. He later worked for Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris, but was never given the chance to advance. He returned to New York and opened the Junoon restaurant. He also founded the Feed India charity, which fed millions of people in his home country during the COVID-19 pandemic. His commitment to the culinary arts is recognized and admired by his peers, especially other famous Indian chefs.

Atul Kochhar

Top Indian Chefs - Atul Kochhar
Image credits: Wikimedia Commons

Chef Kochhar was one of the first Indians to receive a Michelin star rating for his London restaurant, Tamaring, in 2001, and he has been overcoming obstacles to become a well-known name in the Indian culinary world. Since then, he has opened several restaurants, including one in London’s Mayfair District, which earned him his second Michelin star. He returned to Delhi after spending 20 years in the United Kingdom to open the restaurant Saga, which specializes in dishes like goat curry and tikka masala.

Vineet Bhatia

Top Indian Chefs - Vineet Bhatia
Image credits: Wikimedia Commons

Chef Bhatia, who was born in Mumbai, is a well-known name in the Indian culinary world. He began his career in Kandahar restaurants, as well as hotel restaurants in Delhi and Mumbai. Following that, he moved to the United Kingdom, where he became known for experimenting with various culinary styles combined with Indian food. Because Indian food was perceived to be too spicy for British palates, he began offering Anglicized versions of Indian dishes, mixed with local foods and ingredients, to adjust traditional Indian cuisines. His multani bateyr, a type of quail stuffed with dried fruits and served in a cream gravy, became popular throughout the United Kingdom. In 1999, he opened the restaurant Zaika in Chelsea, which he later relocated to Kensington High Street. In 2001, his lamb masala and other dishes earned him his first Michelin star, followed by a second star five years later. Although his restaurant Rasoi in Geneva, Switzerland, received another Michelin star in 2009, it faced difficulties and relocated to London, where it remains open to this day. He is considered one of the best Indian chefs in the world.

Garima Arora

Garima Arora
Image credits: Instagram

Chef Arora made a name for herself at Bangkok’s Gaa restaurant in 2017. She was the driving force behind the effort to serve traditional Indian cuisine with modern global flavors. She is adamant about using local ingredients to support the local economy, while also employing time-honored traditional cooking techniques to prepare traditional Indian dishes with a modern twist. In 2018, she became the first Indian woman awarded a Michelin star, and in 2019, she was named Asia’s Best Female Chef. Unripe jackfruit, which is served alongside many of her meat dishes, is one of her more unusual but signature dishes. She studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, graduating in 2010, and went on to work as a journalist before discovering her passion for cooking. She worked as a sous chef in Bangkok after training with celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey. She later developed her own repertoire, which allowed her to advance through the ranks of top Indian chefs .

Sriram Aylur

Sriram Aylur
Image credits: HotDinners

Quinlon, is a London-based restaurant, led by Chef Aylur, who has the distinction of holding a Michelin star for 14 years, first awarded in 2008 and consistently scoring high every year. Chef Aylur experiments and innovates with quality in order to take southwestern Indian cuisine global. His black cod and coconut with asparagus, as well as masala dosa, are well-loved specialties. Notably, the Quinlon restaurant provides guests with a tasting menu so they can choose which dish they want ahead of time.

Srijith Gopinathan

Srijith Gopinathan
Image credits: Taj Hotels Resorts and Pala via Flickr

Chef Gopinathan infuses his cuisine with the flavor of South India by combining spices and flavors with his own distinct flair. Chef Gopinathan began his career at the Culinary Institute of America and quickly refined his skills under Chef Raymond Black at two different restaurants in England. He has been the Taj Hotel’s head chef for over a decade and has held a Michelin star for eight years. In 2017, he got two stars because he mixed traditional Indian food with new American flavors like Maine lobster.

Vicky Ratanni

Vicky Ratanni
Image credits: Instagram

Chef Ratanni received Best Chef of the Year in 2015 and is known for creating recipes that are difficult to replicate. He hosts a show on NDTV, “Vicky Goes Fetch,” in which he instructs viewers on how to cook his delectable recipes at home. Born in Mumbai, India, he traveled the world in search of new recipes to try while also teaching at the White Star Chef’s Training School. His web series has over 10 million followers who follow his travels as he looks for global culinary trends, making him one of the most well-known Indian celebrity chef faces globally.

Sanjeev Kapoor

Sanjeev Kapoor
Image credits: Sanjeev Kapoor via Flickr

Chef Kapoor was well-known in every Indian household during the 1990s, thanks to the success of his cooking show “Khana Khazana.” His show gave viewers easy recipes to try at home, with many of them featured at his restaurant, The Yellow Chili. He was known for his bright smile and personality. He is from Ambala in North India and previously worked in hotels before moving into the kitchen. In 1992, he was appointed Executive Chef of the Centaura Hotel in Mumbai, where he won the Best Executive Chef of India award. At an Indian Food Festival in 2017, he set a Guinness World Record by cooking a 918kg khichdi.He also served on the MasterChef India judging panel for seasons three and four.

Pankaj Bhadouria

Pankaj Bhadouria
Image credits: Wikimedia Commons

Chef Bhadouria rose to prominence after winning Master Chef India season one, and she has since demonstrated her passion for the culinary arts by teaching others to cook on shows such as “3 Course With Pankaj.” She was a schoolteacher for 16 years before leaving to compete in Master Chef. After winning season one, she went on to publish her own cookbook, as well as two others in the years that followed. She was born in New Delhi in 1971 and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English. In August 2012, she opened her own cooking school, which gives certificate courses to people who want to become chefs.

Anjay Chopra

Anjay Chopra
Image credits: Instagram

Chef Chopra has also served as a judge on Master Chef India and is known for his unusual and quirky recipes that add a twist to traditional Indian dishes. He is regarded as a pioneer in progressive Indian cuisine and has contributed significantly to the modern perception of the culinary arts held by many Indians. He is an internationally renowned restaurateur who owns and operates several successful restaurants in India and around the world. He also has his own show, “High Tea with Ajay,” and is known for breaking down gender barriers by encouraging Indian men to cook at home, something traditionally held by women, as well as to help around the house and have fun with their children. Although unconventional, his modern approach to cooking and male roles in the home has sparked a progressive movement in India.

Summary

India is well-known for its food and heritage, and its ethnic cuisine is regarded as one of the best in the world. This list of famous Indian chefs is certainly not complete. Indian cuisine is so popular in other countries that chicken tikka masala is considered the national dish of the United Kingdom. With this appreciation for Indian food, it is not surprising that modern Indian chefs are making a name for themselves and gaining recognition from food lovers all over the world. Traditional and unique cooking methods, as well as exotic spices, help to distinguish Indian cuisine and teach the world to appreciate the talent of Indian chefs.

FAQ

1. Who is the best chef in India?

It would be nearly impossible to answer this question based solely on the ten chefs reviewed here, as so much of their work is subjective, and all have received Michelin star ratings. However, based on years of experience, the length of time maintaining a Michelin star, and impact, many believe that Chef Vikas Khanna is the best, given his reach in both India and abroad, as well as his accolades.

2. Who is the richest chef in India?

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the recipient of this honor.

3. Who is the most famous Indian chef?

Again, based on name recognition, the number of internationally held restaurants, and his distinction of having worked under Gordon Ramsay, as well as serving us a charge on Master Chef America, this distinction goes to Vikas Khanna.