born in Wardha (central India) and lived all over the
sub-continent, which expanded his mind to the immense
possibilities of eclectic Indian cuisines. As with most
chefs, his family played a huge role in his initial culinary
Being artistically inclined and with a penchant for science, he was naturally drawn to the profession he considers a perfect amalgamation of the two. After graduating from Chennai's Institute of Hotel Management in 1993, Alfred was hand picked to undergo advanced chef training at ITC Maurya (New Delhi), including at their flagship restaurants Dum Pukht and Bukhara. In 1996, Alfred headed the kitchen of the legendary Dakshin restaurant, ITC Park Sheraton (Chennai). During this time he worked under legendary chefs such as Manjit Singh Gill, Imtiaz Qureshi, Madan Lal Jaiswal, Praveen Anand and Nisar Waris.
He moved to London in 1999 and joined Tamarind of Mayfair (London) in 2001 as Sous Chef and progressed to become Executive Chef within a year. In 2002, Alfred earned the honour of being the youngest Indian chef to receive a Michelin star at 29 years of age setting his feet firmly on the world's culinary map.
As Director Cuisine & Executive Chef of Tamarind Collection, Alfred was the creative energy behind Tamarind of Mayfair (London), Imli Street (London), Zaika of Kensington (London) and Tamarind of London (Newport Beach, CA). Alfred designed inventive menus for the restaurants with a keen eye on giving each a distinct brand identity. After nearly 14 years of being an integral part of Tamarind Collection, Alfred is currently working on his own restaurant project in London and is also writing his first book.
Alfred has held a Michelin star for thirteen years along with several other accolades. He is highly lauded for his original take on traditional Indian cuisine. His mouth-watering seasonal menus put a fabulous 21st century spin on centuries' old dishes; delicately balancing creativity and authenticity. It is important to him, to preserve the purity and flavour of ingredients and to present each creation as a complete sensory experience.
Since 2006, Alfred has worked closely with MCC Lord's, the home of cricket, offering an upscale Indian dining experience in their hospitality boxes.
He runs masterclasses at 'Divertimenti Cookery School' and 'School of Wok' in London and has graced food festivals across the globe. He has also been an integral part of the 'Taste of London' festival for over 12 years.
In early 2015, Cobra beer invited Alfred to collaborate on a training initiative. Through this, he offers his expertise to curry houses across the UK to help them evolve effectively, enabling them to compete in a fast-changing market scenario. He has impacted over 50 restaurants in the UK via this programme.
In April 2015, Alfred presented an immersive experience via Great British Chefs (GBC), Everyman Cinema and Celebrity Cruises. Along with Pascal Aussignac, Alfred showcased an Indian-French food experience inspired by the movie 'A hundred Foot Journey.'
His recipes are extensively featured on the GBC website. He has also shared his food and travel sojourns on Calcutta and Chettinad.
In June 2015, Alfred presented a spices inspired 6-course meal to celebrate the Spices Festival at one of his favourite London institutions: Kew Gardens.
In 2015, Alfred was invited to present his gastronomy in Mount Lavinia hotel (Colombo, Sri Lanka), Aditya resorts (Galle, Sri Lanka), Sani resorts (Greece), Hotel d'Angleterre (Geneva), Alila Vilas Soori (Bali), Martinhal resorts (Sagres, Portugal), the International Gourmet Festival at Vila Joya (Albufeira, Portugal), Como Shambala (Ubud).
In December 2015, Alfred joined hands with top chefs in Chennai to raise funds for the rehabilitation of victims of the devastating floods in Chennai.
In January 2016, alongside ace photographer Sharad Haksar, he presented a Food Styling & Photography workshop in Chennai. Alfred is also being sought after to provide consultancy services to restaurants in the UK - his clients include Suvlaki (Soho, London), The Cat's Pyjamas (Headingley), Pan Asian restaurants (Birmingham), MCC Lord's (London) and Cobra Molson Coors (UK).
In February 2016, he was invited to Banyan Tree Seychelles for a food promotion and has designed a bespoke Seychellois-inspired menu featured in Good Things magazine.
Alfred was a special guest chef at Taste of Dubai, March 2016.
Alfred is a founding member of Jeunes Restaurateurs Europe (JRE) UK, alongside Mark Dixon, Taylor Bonnyman and Barny Taylor. JRE UK was launched at the Royal Academy of Arts in London in March 2016.
Alfred showcased his gastronomy at a special demo at the prestigious Salone del Mobile festival - Milan 2016 and at 'Dinner with the stars' at the Palazzo Parigi Milan hotel on 16 April 2016.
Alfred presented a tasting menu at Grandhotel Hassischer hof, Frankfurt , 21-22 April 2016.
Alfred has designed a special menu inspired by the 'Spice Routes' for the British Airways after hours Supper Club at the Orangery, Kew Gardens on 28 April 2016.
Alfred showcased a 'Seychelles' inspired Kreol menu curated by Good Things Magazine, at St James's Park London on 10 May 2016.
Alfred is deeply passionate about food waste and food poverty and is an ambassador to - Food Cycle and Action Against Hunger, organisations that deliver sustainable and far-reaching development programmes to vulnerable communities. In October 2014, Alfred participated in the India Cycle Challenge along with other top chefs, food journalists and crusaders of food poverty. Together, the group raised over £ 120,000. They were able to visit villages in remote parts of the country and see first-hand the impact of Action Against Hunger's work on their beneficiaries.
He cooks in the Food Cycle hubs and advocates prevention of food waste at the single unit level. Read his Tips to reduce food waste.
Kew, Royal Botanic Gardens: Living quite close to Kew, Alfred feels fortunate to visit the gardens as often as he does. He is fascinated by their research and development work and role in plant heritage/ preservation. He volunteers his time to raise funds and spread awareness of this incredible institution.
From a very young age, I was fortunate to gain exposure to the diversity of India and Indian cuisines. A country in which so many centuries co-exist, inspirations are everywhere. Steeped in thousands of years of culinary evolution, the diversity in indigenous micro-cuisines is immense. Added to this, the impact of foreign cultures through conquests, trade, settlers or by sharing a border, greatly added many new dimensions and cuisines to the already myriad Indian-cuisinology. The foodie times that dot my years in India, play a huge role in my creative process at work.
On Food and Cooking, Harold McGee.
Using the flavour rather than heat of green chilli, dried red chilli and black peppercorns.
Andhra, Chettinad, Udipi, Punjabi, Goan, Greek, Italian, Japanese.
Roasts, Steaks, Cazuela de pollo, mum's Mutton curry, Spaghetti Vongole.
Foodie things to do in London?
Experience Taste of London (June every year), tour Borough market, enjoy Britain's favourite cuisine - Indian food, afternoon tea at the Old Maids of Honour (Kew), coffee at Bar Italia (Soho), the seasonal tour's at Kew Gardens, a local pub or if more adventurous - a Monopoly pub crawl. Visit the quaint bookshop, Books for Cooks in Notting Hill, that stocks only cookbooks and has a demo kitchen trying recipes from the books.
One change I would like to see?
I wish our industry could be more pro-active and restructured to facilitate women chefs, enabling them to thrive. The crazy hours and demanding work life can be a deterrent. I do feel that women are more naturally creative, great at multi tasking and make great chefs.
Statistics show that as much as 40% of produce purchased is not consumed. Sadly, food waste exists alongside food poverty, which really doesn't make sense. In restaurants we have strict measures to avoid waste. Some tips for home:
Gardening, fishing, foodie travels: Greece, Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan, Italy.
Thomas Keller dining with his French laundry team at Tamarind. To be chosen as the Indian restaurant to experience in London was a huge compliment. In an interview to BBC Good Food, Gordon Ramsay included me in his dream kitchen team - to be recognized by a top chef in the industry is very special. On a lighter note, getting proposed to by a group of very happy lady diners I suppose is a compliment too.
The recognition I have got in London including the Michelin star. There are so many slog years in any chef's life and the recognition brings with it opportunities and a certain gratification. Of course there are miles to go and many more milestones to achieve.
Interesting food trend
Whilst I advice not falling for food trends in general, I must say that TV cookery shows, particularly Junior Masterchef has made cooking trendy amongt youngsters and an aspirational career choice as well, which is fantastic.
Cooking in London?
The love for Indian cuisine in London offers a great setting for an Indian chef. Although I say London, it is really showcasing our food to the world at large and that opens up even greater possibilities.
Advice to a novice cook
The Dalai Lama once said: Approach love and cooking with joy and reckless abandon. Superb advice as I believe cooking must be intuitive. For someone pursuing excellence, I would advise my mantra of 5 Ts: Technique, Temperature, Time, Texture and Taste.
Everyone must make
Their own stock. Vegetable, fish and chicken stock are so easy to prepare and freeze in small batches.
I have the deepest regard for the indigenous cooks in India, who have safeguarded their culinary traditions for generations. Many of them may not be able to read or write but their repertoire of traditional recipes and their understanding of food science is incredible! Their food is unbelievably consistent, no matter what numbers they cook for. I am sure there are such geniuses in every corner of the world, quietly creating urban legends in their own right.
Earliest food memory
The aromas from my mums kitchen.
Life is too short to waste on same or similar food. We are creatures of habit but there is far too much out there to explore and enjoy. Introduce children from an early age to as many cuisines and tastes!
Cherished culinary experience
Being on the panel of experts at the Bernard Louseau Culinary Festival in Mauritius. A great week of learning, teaching, sharing, savouring.