Alfred was born in Wardha (central India) and lived all over the sub-continent, which expanded his mind to the immense possibilities of eclectic Indian cuisines. As with most chefs, his family played a huge role in his initial culinary orientation. His culinary philosophy, ‘Heritage Health Happiness’ lies at the very core of his cooking.
Being artistically inclined and with a penchant for science, he was naturally drawn to the profession he considers a perfect amalgamation of the two. After graduating from Chennai’s Institute of hotel Management in 1993, he was handpicked to undergo advanced chef training at ITC Maurya, New Delhi, including at their flagship restaurants Dum Pukht and Bukhara In 1996, Alfred headed the kitchens of the legendary Dakshin restaurant, ITC Park Sheraton, Chennai. During this time he worked under legendary chefs such as Manjit Singh Gill, Imtiaz Qureshi, Madan Lal Jaiswal, Praveen Anand and Nisar Waris.
Alfred moved to London in 1999 and joined Tamarind of Mayfair (London) in 2001 as Sous Chef and progressed to become Executive Chef within a year. In 2002, Alfred earned the honour of being the youngest Indian chef to receive a Michelin star at 29 years of age setting his feet firmly on the world’s culinary map.
Alfred has collaborated with The Oberoi Hotels to create OMYA a fine dining Indian restaurant at their flagship property The Oberoi New Delhi OMYA launched on 01 January 2018 to wonderful reviews. On this exciting collaboration, he says “I have always had great respect for The Oberoi Hotels and to work with them on my first ‘homecoming‘ project is a huge honour. Delhi has had such rich and strong influences over the many centuries. At OMYA, it is my vision to showcase India’s culinary journey through the lens of this majestic city.” Omya was awarded the best restaurant in a Five Star Hotel, North India by BBC Goodfood in 2019.
In September 2019, Alfred teamed up with Press Up Entertainment Group Ireland, to launch Doolally in Dublin. Taking inspiration from the India Ireland connection, the food story celebrates regional flavours of India, uses the best of Irish ingredients and offers a menu filled with hearty and healthy dishes. It is the group’s first Indian restaurant and has had a very successful response from the local clientele and also won awards including Winner of ‘Best World Cuisine restaurant’ category at National Hospitality awards.
Alfred collaborated with frozen food giant Sumeru, to launch healthy, gourmet heat-and-eat line in India in November 2018. This offers wide appeal to Indian consumers strapped for time and seeking convenience without compromising on nutrition and taste. “We have ensured our products sans preservatives, artificial colours and flavours. The cooking process and unique packaging technology (IQF) ensure nutrients and flavours are locked and frozen to be as good as fresh. This is a first-of-its-kind product in the Indian frozen food market, which gives us an advantage over players in the segment,” said Prasad. The current range includes Super Millet Khichdi, Coromandel Roast Chicken and Malabar Pepper Chicken.
Alfred has provided culinary direction for a new iconic Indian progressive restaurant, Dalchini at Centara West Bay Residences & Suites Doha Qatar launched in February 2019. Taking inspirations from the ancient spice routes that connected cultures and philosophies, his inventive menu offers an exotic gourmet journey of India. The modern ambience with progressive Indian cuisine in a sharing plate menu, offers a wonderful feast for the senses.
Alfred is being sought after to provide hospitality consultancy and has several successful projects in the UK. He works closely with MCC Lord’s, the home of cricket, offering an upscale Indian dining experience, ‘INDUS,’ in their hospitality boxes. He presents an annual Indian fine dining experience every summer in Geneva at the Hotel d’Angleterre. He has created an inventive Indian take on the chop house concept at Tandoor Chop House in London. He consults Gleneagles, Scotland and Playboy Club, London on their Indian offering. He has curated a new small plate menu for London’s trendiest Greek restaurant, Suvlaki.
In early 2015, Cobra beer invited Alfred to collaborate on a training initiative. Through this, he offers his expertise to curry houses across the UK to help them evolve effectively, enabling them to compete in a fast-changing market scenario. He has impacted over 50 restaurants in the UK via this programme..
As Director Cuisine and Executive Chef of Tamarind Collection, Alfred Prasad was the creative energy behind Tamarind of Mayfair (London), Imli Street (London), Zaika of Kensington (London) and Tamarind of London (Newport Beach, CA). Alfred designed inventive menus for the restaurants with a keen eye on giving each a distinct brand identity.
Alfred has held a Michelin star for thirteen years along with several other accolades. He is highly lauded for his original take on traditional Indian cuisine. His mouth-watering seasonal menus put a fabulous 21st century spin on centuries old dishes; delicately balancing creativity and authenticity. It is important to him, to preserve the purity and flavour of ingredients and to present each creation as a complete sensory experience. After nearly 14 years of being an integral part of Tamarind Collection, Alfred is currently running a successful consultancy business with projects in the UK, India, Middle east and Europe.
Alfred has been an integral part of the ‘Taste of London’ festival for 14 years. He was also guest chef at Taste of Dubai festival. He runs masterclasses at ‘Divertimenti Cookery School’and ‘School of Wok’ in London. Since 2015, Alfred has been invited to present his gastronomy at the Sani Gourmet festival (Greece), Alila Vilas Soori (Bali), Martinhal resorts (Sagres, Portugal), the International Gastronomy Festival at Vila Joya (Albufeira, Portugal), Como Shambala (Ubud), Salone del Mobile (Milan), Grandhotel Hassischer Hof (Frankfurt), The 5 (Zurich), Mount Lavinia hotel (Colombo, Sri Lanka), Aditya resorts (Galle, Sri Lanka), In 2016, he was invited to Banyan Tree Seychelles for a food promotion and has designed a bespoke Seychellois-inspired menu featured in Good Things magazine.
Alfred is a founding member of Jeunes Restaurateurs Europe (JRE) UK, alongside Mark Dixon, Taylor Bonnyman and Barny Taylor. JRE UK was launched at the Royal Academy of Arts in London in March 2016. In June 2015, Alfred presented a spices inspired 6-course meal to celebrate the Spices Festival at one of his favourite London institutions: Kew Gardens
Alfred has designed a special menu inspired by the ‘Spice Routes’ for the British Airways after hours Supper Club at the Orangery, Kew Gardens on 28 April 2016.
Over 2015-2020, Alfred has been invited to present his gastronomy in Mount Lavinia hotel (Colombo, Sri Lanka), Aditya resorts (Galle, Sri Lanka), Sani resorts (Greece), Alila Vilas Soori (Bali), Martinhal resorts (Sagres, Portugal), the International Gourmet Festival at Vila Joya (Albufeira, Portugal), Como Shambala (Ubud), Salone del Mobile (Milan), Grandhotel Hassischer Hof (Frankfurt), The 5 (Zurich).
In January 2019, he was invited to speak at The Hindu Literary festival in Chennai, India. Alfred was invited to judge the Jing Tea excellence in Darjeeling tea awards in London in May 2019. In July 2019, Alfred was featured in the ‘10 men of the moment’ by Femina, Men’s special issue. Alfred was a key invitee at the Serendipity Arts Festival in Goa in December 2019. He addressed festival attendees on the importance of food for good, in fighting food waste at a domestic level and demonstrated a recipe using leftovers. He also presented his gastronomy at a sit down dinner at The Hilton Goa Resort. He spoke to young Hotel school graduates on the technicalities and sensibilities needed to thrive in hospitality.
In January 2020, Alfred was invited to present his cuisine at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
From a very young age, I was fortunate to gain exposure to the diversity of India and Indian cuisines. A country in which so many centuries co-exist, inspirations are everywhere. Steeped in thousands of years of culinary evolution, the diversity in indigenous micro-cuisines is immense. Added to this, the impact of foreign cultures through conquests, trade, settlers or by sharing a border, greatly added many new dimensions and cuisines to the already myriad Indian-cuisinology. The foodie times that dot my years in India, play a huge role in my creative process at work.
On Food and Cooking, Harold McGee.
Gastrophysics by Prof Charles Spence.
Using the flavour rather than heat of green chilli, dried red chilli and black peppercorns.
Andhra, Chettinad, Udipi, Punjabi, Goan, Greek, Italian, Japanese.
Roasts, Steaks, Cazuela de pollo, mum’s Mutton curry, Spaghetti Vongole.
Foodie things to do in London?
Experience Taste of London (June every year), tour Borough market, enjoy Britain’s favourite cuisine – Indian food, afternoon tea at the Old Maids of Honour (Kew), coffee at Bar Italia (Soho), the seasonal tour’s at Kew Gardens, a local pub or if more adventurous – a Monopoly pub crawl. Walk around the delicious Petersham Nurseries in Richmond, and grab a slice of freshness from their café. Visit the quaint bookshop, Books for Cooks in Notting Hill, that stocks only cookbooks and has a demo kitchen trying recipes from the books.
One change I would like to see?
I wish our industry could be more pro-active and restructured to facilitate women chefs, enabling them to thrive. The crazy hours and demanding work life can be a deterrent. I do feel that women are more naturally creative, great at multi tasking and make great chefs.
Statistics show that as much as 40% of produce purchased is not consumed. Sadly, food waste exists alongside food poverty, which really doesn’t make sense. In restaurants we have strict measures to avoid waste. Some tips for home:
- Look at what you have at home and challenge yourself to use those ingredients to create something special.
- Avoid overstocking fresh produce.
- Up-cycle food at home. Be creative with leftovers and re-hash them into something new and interesting.
Gardening, fishing, foodie travels: Greece, Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan, Italy.
Thomas Keller dining with his French laundry team at Tamarind. To be chosen as the Indian restaurant to experience in London was a huge compliment. In an interview to BBC Good Food, Gordon Ramsay included me in his dream kitchen team – to be recognized by a top chef in the industry is very special. On a lighter note, getting proposed to by a group of very happy lady diners I suppose is a compliment too.
The recognition I have got in London including the Michelin star. There are so many slog years in any chef’s life and the recognition brings with it opportunities and a certain gratification. Of course there are miles to go and many more milestones to achieve.
Cherished culinary experience?
Being on the panel of experts at the Bernard Louseau Culinary Festival in Mauritius. A great week of learning, teaching, sharing, savouring.
Life is too short to waste on same or similar food. We are creatures of habit but there is far too much out there to explore and enjoy. Introduce children from an early age to as many cuisines and tastes!
Earliest food memory?
The aromas from my mums kitchen.
I have the deepest regard for the indigenous cooks in India, who have safeguarded their culinary traditions for generations. Many of them may not be able to read or write but their repertoire of traditional recipes and their understanding of food science is incredible! Their food is unbelievably consistent, no matter what numbers they cook for. I am sure there are such geniuses in every corner of the world, quietly creating urban legends in their own right.
Everyone must make?
Their own stock. Vegetable, fish and chicken stock are so easy to prepare and freeze in small batches.
Advice to a novice cook?
The Dalai Lama once said: Approach love and cooking with joy and reckless abandon. Superb advice as I believe cooking must be intuitive. For someone pursuing excellence, I would advise my mantra of 5 Ts: Technique, Temperature, Time, Texture and Taste.
Cooking in London?
The love for Indian cuisine in London offers a great setting for an Indian chef. Although I say London, it is really showcasing our food to the world at large and that opens up even greater possibilities.
Interesting food trend?
Whilst I advice not falling for food trends in general, I must say that TV cookery shows, particularly Junior Masterchef has made cooking trendy amongt youngsters and an aspirational career choice as well, which is fantastic.
Seeking new spices
“In my ideal kitchen, I’d pick Alan Ducasse from Paris, Australian chef Shane Osborne, Irishman Richard Corrigan from Lindsay House, Alfred Prasad from the Tamarind in Mayfair and Angela Hartnett from the Connaught.....
“We truly had a wonderful exprience and you were certainly one of the highlights. Your flexibility, eagerness to please, and willingness to accommodate one’s individual taste is remarkable. Everything you prepared was so wonderful exemplified the authentic flavours and immense diversity of Indian cuisine.....
“Chef Alfred effortlessly merged flavours and foods from different genres to create the sublime. Our own kitchen team were grateful for the opportunity to work and learn from Chef Alfred.....