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HELLO! 100 Most Influential: Manish Mehrotra

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Rashmi Uday Singh

Why he matters: While his restaurants may not be Michelin recognised, this gastronomical genius takes pride in knowing that chefs who trained under him went on to bag those coveted stars. He’s humble, big-hearted and the ‘Big M’ of F&B. Rashmi Uday Singh reveals the real man leaving behind a stupendous footprint in Indian hospitality.

Expect the unexpected. Not just in the inventive food of the internationally acclaimed and trailblazing Indian Accent, but also from its Culinary Director and Chef, Manish Mehrotra.

“My restaurants don’t have a single Michelin star,” this soft-spoken icon often says, “but those who started their career with me, Himanshu Saini of Tresind Studio in Dubai (it has two stars) and Sajeev Nair of Trishna London (it has one star) do, and I’m really happy about that.”

This statement alone speaks volumes about Manish. It underlines not just his humility but also his large-hearted vision to pass on a continuing global culinary legacy. Michelin-starred or not, this chef is showered with awards. Indian Accent was crowned among ‘Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants’ eight years in a row and continues to conjure brilliant masterpieces at the restaurants in Delhi and New York City. I’ve had superb meals at all his haunts, including the London branch that has since shut. And they’re slated to open in Mumbai soon!

As Chairperson of the Indian Subcontinent for the World’s 50 Best and Asia’s 50 Best, I’ve had the joy of applauding him in London, New York, Singapore, Macau and at many other award ceremonies bristling with star power. I did so in Delhi, just a day before penning down this ode to Manish, as a jury member for Travel and Leisure’s Delicious Dining Awards 2023, where he received the Icon Award.

Over the years, this Thai cuisine-trained chef has blazed a trail and put India on the world gourmet map. I reviewed his restaurant way back in 2009, when it had just opened its doors. Fourteen years later, my experience remains the same.

Manish Mehrotra makes art and science copulate to produce surprises of flavour and textural triumph — and the surprises continue.

A single parent to his teen daughter (he lost his young wife, who was also a chef, to cancer), Manish is the epitome of equanimity and balance. Also a child actor in two Bollywood films, he loves movies even today.

“I never ask anyone for photographs, except the one I admire most — Big B,” he says.

And judging by his status as a global icon, he’s truly the Big M of the culinary world!

To see who else is on the list, grab the copy of HELLO! India’s August 2023 issue right here!