In 1996 Manish Mehrotra decided to make cooking his profession, in due course becoming the most brilliant chef to represent contemporary Indian cuisine.
By contrast to the majority of chefs who learnt or gained their inspiration in their kitchens at home, Mehrotra’s family was vegetarian, so he decided to embark on his training by travelling, in the process creating a cosmopolitan Indian cuisine.
When he finished his culinary studies, he started to work at the Thai Pavillon restaurant where he was trained by experts cookers an influence that would later emerge in his own dishes. He subsequently joined the Old World Hospitality (OWH) group, where he was head of pan-Asiatic cuisine, and where he formed part of various culinary expeditions that enabled him to gain training at various elite Eastern restaurants. In 2006 he opened the Tamari restaurant with OWH in London to the acclaim of critics who deemed it the finest pan-Asiatic restaurant in London.
Mehrotra opened in 2009 his most famous restaurant, Indian Accent in the New Delhi’s luxurious Lodhi Hotel, which has been the India’s Best Restaurant from 5 years now. Mehrotra has use it to rewrite the rules of his country’s cuisine. Inspired by traditional Indian dishes, he reinterprets them with different techniques and influences to offer creative and innovative cuisine.
Indian Accent has two offshoots: one at Le Parker Meridien, in New York, and another in the Mayfair district of London. “We adapt the dishes to each venue. The typical Delhi diner is nothing like the one in London, who is quite unlike the one in New York. You need to design your menu to fit the city. Although the spices are the same, we add ingredients that can be easily found at each location,” Mehrotra emphasises. They all serve tasting menus of three or four dishes, with no menu.
Manish has one of the best-known faces in India owing to the fact that in 2012 he won the Foodistan competition on television, where the finest Indian and Pakistani chefs pitted themselves against each other to demonstrate the differences between the two superficially similar culinary cultures.