Chef Focus: CYRUS TODIWALA OBE DL
As Cyrus Todiwala was one of our first customers in 2005 we are very proud to continue to work with him, and to bring a Khaadraas Club, Special Heritage Potato Dinner to Cafe Spice Namaste, London on February 19th. An interview with Cyrus will follow in the next few weeks.
Questions & Answers
Cyrus, please tell me about where you are from, and your journey to where you are now?
21 years ago I left my Executive Chef role at the Taj group of hotels in Goa. I needed a challenge, and when I came to the UK I started again. Since then I have been busy!
I grew up in Bombay, where my father was the first Indian employee of the Automobile Association and later the Chief of Road Service Western India. I was not expected to become a chef, but I was first inspired to become one by my mother’s unforgettable cooking, so rather than following in my father’s footsteps, I chose the road less travelled.
After graduating in Hotel Administration & Food Technology from Bombay’s Basant Kumar Somani Polytechnic, I then became a trainee chef, and eventually Corporate Executive Chef of the famous Taj Group’s Taj Holiday Village, The Fort Aguada Beach Resort & The Aguada Hermitage in Goa. By this time, my wife Pervin and I had two young boys, Jamsheed, now a designer in London, and Hormuzd, an actor. Both sons are now active in the family business.
Please tell me the name of your restaurants?
I am Chef Patron of Cafe Spice Namaste, Assado by Cyrus Todiwala,
Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen, and The Park Café in Victoria Park East.
Tell me about the other things you do?
As well as being involved in 4 London restaurants I also write books, with the latest out this summer. My last book was Mr Todiwala’s Bombay: Recipes and Memories from India, which was a salute to my hometown. I work with various charities in the community, and this includes Springboard the industry careers charity, and CLINK Charity, of which I am an Ambassador. I am also deeply committed to the sustainability and the environment and hence our work with the Footprint Forum. Lately, I have also been impressed by the work being done to address the rise of GM foods.
How long have you worked with Anthony and Lucy at Carroll’s Heritage Potatoes, and which varieties are you cooking with?
I was one of their first customers! I needed more choice of varieties of potatoes, and that is when I found them, and I have worked with them ever since.
At the moment we are cooking with Pink Fir Apple, and Mayan Gold, and over the years we have worked with most varieties. They add something different to my menu.
Tell us about the Khaadraas Club Potato Dinner on February 19th at Cafe Spice?
Every 4 -5 weeks we hold a special Khaadraas Club dinner at Cafe Spice Namaste. Khaadraas Club, literally translated, means the ‘Greedy Pigs or Greedy Gourmand’s Club’. Parsees love to eat, and this is when I feature heirloom Parsee recipes from my mother’s and aunt’s cupboards and drawers in Bombay and India. Pervin also has some recipes up her sleeve which all adds to the mix. At first, this supper club appealed mostly to Parsees but now it has grown to encompass non-Parsees as well. Pervin and I are delighted that we’ve helped to put Parsee food on the culinary map. That accomplishment means a lot to us.
On February 19th we shall be cooking with as many of the varieties of Carroll’s Heritage Potatoes as possible creating lots of unusual dishes, and there will also be a desert made with Arran Victory!
To book your place call 0207 488 9242