On chefs having a presence beyond the kitchen:
“At the very start of my career it was pretty daunting to actually walk into a dining room. You're more wary about if it's going to be good or bad feedback. When people ask for the chef, the first thought in your mind is always “Is something wrong?” Now, you realize that even if the customer had a dish that they probably didn't like, the moment the chef goes to the table and talks to them it's all forgotten. It can be pretty nerve-wracking at the start.”
Read our interview with Alfred Prasad of Tamarind of London, Part One.
And now, on to Part Two. . . .
When you're not in the kitchen cooking, what are you doing?
My wife and I love playing tennis, badminton and table tennis at least three times a week. We follow a lot of cricket and soccer as well. When we can, we also love discovering hidden facets of London [Editor's Note: A recent excursion found them on a Jack the Ripper walking tour.]
Last song playing on your radio:
Titanium by David Guetta (featuring Sia).
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Wardha (Maharashtra central India) and lived all over the sub-continent until I moved to London in 1999.
How do you divide your time between Newport Beach and London?
It is a bit of a balancing act, but given that Tamarind of London is not even a year old, it is a big priority for me.
What's your favorite childhood memory?
Our stay at idyllic Karigiri, near Vellore in South India was like living every boy's dream. We trekked hills, climbed trees, went fishing and cycled all over the countryside. Every day brought with it a great new adventure.
What were you up to five years ago?
I have been with the Tamarind Collection for over 12 years, and while it seems like a long time on paper, it has been a really exciting journey of evolution for the group and me.
Tell us about your education? Did you always want to be a chef?
I graduated from Chennai's Institute of Hotel Management in 1993 and was hand picked along with 5 others from all over India to undergo advanced chef training at ITC Maurya Sheraton, New Delhi, at their flagship restaurants Dum-Pukht and Bukhara.
Like most chefs, my interest in cooking started thanks to my mother. I can't say that I consciously knew I wanted to be come a chef, but many key aspects of those years steered me naturally towards it. I was a very hands-on child at home, and helping out in the kitchen was normal and interesting. Thanks to my Anglo-Indian mum, Tamil Brahmin dad and living all over the country, I had a lot of early exposure to diverse cuisines and food cultures that opened up my mind to the immense possibilities of food and cuisine.
As I was finishing school, the hotel industry was opening up in India in a big way, and it seemed to be a very exciting, creative and different career.
Last movie watched:
I watched Skyfall just before I left for the US and loved it. It is a very different James Bond movie.
When you use the internet, what's on your homepage?
My favorite soccer club Arsenal.
Last thing you looked up/searched online:
The Seal Team Six documentary on National Geographic.
Do you have any skills that are non-food related?
I sketch, paint and am also pretty good at calligraphy.
What would you be doing if you weren't in this business?
Most certainly I would be a wildlife conservationist.