Atul Kochhar: Chef Atul Kochhar curates menu to reflect 30 years of celebrating Indian cuisine in the UK | Pune News

Pune: Atul Kocchar, one of the most renowned Indian chefs in the world, celebrated 30 years of his culinary journey and hosted a special five-course dinner in the city on June 7-8.
It was held at Conrad Pune as part of the Swiggy Dineout culinary sessions.
Kocchar grew up in Jamshedpur and honed his skills in New Delhi and Chennai. He found success in the United Kingdom, where he opened several restaurants, appeared on television shows and earned two Michelin stars since 1994.
The choice of menu in the city featured dishes that defined Kocchar’s culinary identity and its mission to promote Indian cuisines. “I present various Indian cuisines, different from the standard Indian dishes known abroad,” he said.
Dinner started with nashta (snacks) including Kunafa pâté, wild mushroom tart and candied beetroot cake. The chef’s signature tikka tarts, served in chicken and soy varieties with wild berry chutney and raspberry dust, added a touch of sophistication. The main course included lamb jugalbandi – a dish consisting of roasted lamb chops, crumbled lamb loin with juniper spices and potli keema samosas with rogan josh sauce. A simple dessert of rose pistachios with olive oil, potenta cake and cardamom-scented crème fraîche concluded the meal.
Kocchar said the realization that his knowledge of regional Indian cuisines was limited prompted him to embark on a cross-country tour five years ago. “I traveled across the northeast in what turned out to be an eye-opening experience. I had to relearn different cooking methods, local ingredients and eating styles. I wanted to get creative with classic recipes and present them to international customers,” he said.
The chef avoided the debate over the best biryani by serving mushroom pulao instead. Kocchar also highlighted the jaltarang dish – a seafood stew with varied flavors and combinations in the UK. “It’s a lovely sort of seafood stew with scallops, shrimp, razor clams, different types of oysters and whatever fish is in season – with a little tartar sauce on the side and served on a bed of moilée sauce . For this menu, I used chilka prawns. This takes me back to the time when I was working in Bhubaneswar and came across their local products. We pan-fried the shrimp with mild spices and put them in the oven with a little butter to bring out their sweet flavor. We also used all the trimmings, the juicy heads that are not usually eaten, to make a mousse to serve with the dish as an accompaniment to a salad,” he explained.

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