Independence Day 2023: 10 Indian Chefs Making The Nation Proud
Image Credit: Chefs Vineet Bhatia, Garima Arora and Vikas Khanna | Instagram

Indian food tastes amazing and Indian cuisine is vast thanks to a rich cultural heritage—this is a fact all Indians everywhere know and are proud of. But did you know that for the longest time, the global misconception around Indian food was that it is too spicy, salty and rich? If you look at the global understanding and popularity of Indian cuisine today, however, you will find that this has all changed—and the credit goes to Indian chefs who went abroad and spread knowledge of Indian food all over the world.  

This Independence Day, let’s take a closer look at all the amazing Indian chefs behind the popularity of Indian food worldwide. These are chefs who have worked for years and decades to represent our collective culinary heritage to the world, making each and every Indian proud.  

To be fair, the biggest stalwart of Indian cooking who first broke major myths about Indian cuisine back before Indian chefs opened their own restaurants worldwide was Madhur Jaffrey. In the 1980s, she migrated to London, where she not only authored books on Indian cooking but also appeared on major broadcast shows about our cuisine. It would not be wrong to say that Madhur Jaffrey did to Indian cooking globally what Julia Child did to French cooking in the USA. 

Today, we are proud to have a huge number of Indian and Indian-origin chefs who have not only opened award-winning Indian restaurants abroad but also gained popularity as celebrity chefs across mediums like books, reality shows and social media. Here are 10 such Indian chefs who are making India proud worldwide. 

Video Credit: YouTube/Vineet Bhatia

Vikas Khanna 

The most easily recognised name among amazing Indian chefs who made it big abroad, Vikas Khanna went from Amritsar, Punjab to New York City carrying his cultural heritage with himself. The Michelin-starred chef and man behind Junoon in NYC and Dubai is also known the world over for his incredibly famous cookbooks, his appearance as a judge on MasterChef India, and of course, his documentaries and films. 

Garima Arora 

The first Indian woman to ever get a Michelin star, Garima Arora is a young woman who went from Mumbai to Bangkok, taking her immense culinary knowledge with her. The creative talent behind Gaa and Here in Bangkok also gained fame with her recent appearance as the first woman judge on MasterChef India. Known for her incredible adaptations of local Thailand ingredients to create Indian gems, Arora is a force to be reckoned with. 

Vineet Bhatia 

The first Indian chef in the UK ever to be awarded with two Michelin stars, Vineet Bhatia is the man behind Rasoi and KAMA by Vineet. Bhatia is based out of London and received an MBE from the British Royal family in 2023. He is known not only for his restaurants but also his television appearances, like on MasterChef India and Netflix’s The Final Table. 

Asma Said Khan 

Unlike many others on this list, Asma Said Khan is not a trained chef. As an immigrant to the UK, she paired up with other South Asian and Indian women to open Darjeeling Express, a restaurant that serves up authentic Indian food and is immensely popular among celebrities and regular folks alike. Appearing on the Netflix show, Chef’s Table, Khan is now the author of two cookbooks too. 

Gaggan Anand 

There have only ever been two Indian chefs presented to the world through Netflix’s Chef’s Table, and Gaggan Anand, a Punjabi-origin man who grew up on Kolkata is the only Indian male chef to appear. Gaggan’s restaurants in Bangkok, Thailand have done nothing short of revolutionising Indian food by taking it to the level of molecular gastronomy. A man known for his wit, charm and incredible take on Indian food, Gaggan is definitely changing the idea of Indian food in the world. 

Atul Kochar 

The first Indian chef to be awarded with a Michelin Star for his London restaurant, Tamarind, in 2001, Atul Kochar is a pioneer among Indian chefs. This is because he was the first to create traditional Indian dishes plated with British sensibilities and often, British ingredients. In 2002, Kochar opened Benaras in London’s plush Mayfair district, and the place got him his second Michelin star. 

Srijith Gopinathan 

Often referred to as the most famous Indian chef even Indians don’t know much about, Srijith Gopinathan is known for taking the flavours of his native South India to the USA. An alumnus of the Culinary Institute of America, Gopinathan trained under a Michelin-starred chef in England and now hold two Michelin Stars for his own San Francisco place under the Taj Group, Taj Campton Place. 

Himanshu Saini
At 37, he became one of the youngest Indian chefs with a two Michelin-starred restaurant in Dubai. Himanshu Saini, the creative talent behind Tresind and Tresind Studio in Dubai, also managed to get incredible rankings in the World's 50 Best Restaurants list in 2022. Known for his bold flavours and unique innovations, like Khandvi Ice Cream, Saini is one of the rising stars of Indian cuisine abroad.

Maneet Chauhan 

Born in Punjab and popular as an Indian-origin chef across the USA, Maneet Chauhan is well known in the culinary world today for her role as a judge on American reality food shows. After helming amazing restaurants in Chicago, Nashville and New York, Chauhan made her entry as a judge on television with Chopped, then followed it up with many other shows.  

Sriram Aylur 

This incredible chef has not only helmed Quilon, Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences, London, since 1999 but has also taken Indian coastal cuisines—especially from the South Indian states—to the global audience. After winning a Michelin Star in 2008, Aylur has managed to keep the coveted honour for 14 years, proving that he is quite the Indian master of the culinary arts.