19½ questions for superstar Indian chef Atul Kochhar

He has a Michelin star, but the executive chef at Dubai’s Rang Mahal restaurant prefers to eat a rather less glamorous snack…

Matthew Priest September 12, 2014

1. How do you describe yourself?

Quiet and hardworking. A family man.

2. How do others describe you?

I hope they’d say talented and passionate, but they’ll probably go with grumpy!

3. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Winning a Michelin star at my London restaurant Benares, and keeping it for the past eight years.

4. What is your biggest regret?

Not writing down all the advice my late father gave me – I’m sure it would have made a brilliant book.

5. What do you consider your greatest attribute?

I don’t tire easily, which allows me to work a lot harder than most people!

6. What is your least favourite attribute?

I have a really short attention span.

I am obsessed with cheese sandwiches.

7. What virtue do you value most in people?

Loyalty – all of the best restaurants in the world rely on loyalty from their patrons, staff and suppliers. It’s the most rewarding thing about our industry.

8. What is something people don’t know about you?

I am obsessed with cheese sandwiches.

9. What inspires you?

Travel. I will never grow tired of travelling and eating all around the world.

10. What is your most prized possession?

If I am being sentimental, my family, but other than that my collection of watches!

11. Do you have a personal motto?

Always try to do better in everything you do.

12. What advice would you give to yourself as a 16-year-old?

Exactly the same advice I gave myself at the time: follow your heart and cook, medicine is not for you!

13. What would you have for your last supper?

A simple meal of lentil curry sitting in the shade in my hometown with hand-picked mangoes for dessert.

I recently bought the house next door to mine so we could have more space.

14. What film are you embarrassed that you have never seen?

My short attention span means I can rarely sit through whole films.

15. What is your biggest luxury?

I recently bought the house next door to mine so we could have more space.

16. What is something a modern-day man should have?

Friends, family and a good watch.

17. How important is it to take risks?

Essential – without risk there is no reward.

18. Who is your real life hero?

My father.

19. What makes you laugh?

My children and British stand-up comedy.

19½. Finish this sentence: Food is...

life. Details: Atul Kochhar is the executive chef of Rang Mahal, JW Marriott Marquis, Dubai. For more visit Jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com