The Bite Magazine - Autumn/Winter 2021 - Issue 30

I n Urdu, Kahani means ‘story’ and perhaps it’s one that Michelin-starred chef Peter Joseph is adding to his latest chapter with a fresh approach to con- temporary Indian cuisine.The celebrated chef grew up in Chennai, Tamil Nadu where he was brought up on dishes like idli, a soft, pillowy steamed savoury cake made from rice and lentil batter; dosa, a thin pancake or crepe made from fer- mented batter predominately consisting of lentils and rice; and sambar, a stew made with pigeon pea lentils, tamarind and sambar powder. Peter was intrigued by his mother’s cooking whom he says used colour- ful ingredients and spices and would “always pack me off to school with a tiffin box full of delights such as parota (fried bread), appam (rice pancakes), sadam (flavoured rice) and a few sweet treats such as halwa too,” he told Great British Chefs. With this influence in tow, Peter entered the hospitality industry and began gaining experience in profes- sional kitchens, starting as a management trainee at the ITC Sheraton Hotel in New Delhi. He later worked with the talented chef Rakesh Upadhyay who became his mentor, advisor and guru. “All the chefs I had the fortune to meet and work with during my career had a passion and drive that was hugely motivating to witness,” he added.“Their influence built the foundations of my cooking career and that’s what I go back to when I need inspiration.They remained true to Indian flavours yet explored spices and ingredients, and that is what I continue to do today.” In 2004, he joined London-based Tama- rind as a sous chef which was different to the traditional restaurants he had worked at previously. “Tamarind was the first Michelin star restaurant that I’d experienced,” he revealed to Great British Chefs. “I was used to cooking in kitchens where the food wasn’t neces- sarily cooked to order and the majority of the dishes were prepared with a standard bulk sauce, which is how Indian restaurants can get so many dishes out quickly.” Here, he learned the real quality of ingredients, care and attention given to the cooking techniques and pres- entation styles that would direct his future cooking style. He revealed the dishes produced at Tamarind had layers of flavours achieved through delicate spicing and authentic techniques as well as presentation details and front of house service. Eight years after joining the restaurant, he became head chef and introduced new concepts such as tasting menus and his famous Pudhina lamb chops. In 2018, Peter left Tamarind to open his restaurant Kahani on Wilbraham Place in Sloane Square, opposite the iconic Cadogan Hall. It resonates with contem- porary Indian dishes that are not only healthy but contain locally and seasonally sourced ingredients. This luxe, seduc- tively lit interior establishment with a high-class, yet inclusive dining experience bitecuisine Seared Scallops Grilled Monkfish Trio of Chicken Tikka Oxtail Kerala Paratha Food Photography:Tony Wellington