Chef Peter Joseph reimagining a home-based Kahani for London

Chef Peter Joseph reimagining a home-based Kahani for London

London’s multicultural vibe has opened the city to diverse world cuisines. Michelin Head Chef Peter Joseph has opened his abode to create culinary marvels in authentic Indian cuisine in the heart of London with Kahani restaurant in Chelsea.

Their traditional techniques of marination, the good old style charcoal tandoor and seasonally sourced ingredients have a magnetic effect over gourmands from all over the globe.

Peter is determined to burst the myth that Indian cuisine is solely about the curry: “There is more than just curries to Indian food. Plenty of healthy, fresh options like grills, kebabs, and steamed food. Let me change your perception of Indian Food at Kahani where our dishes come out from Robata and Tandoor grills!”

‘iGlobal’ catches up with the Head Chef of Kahani for our regular Big Bite Series to get a glimpse into the popular restaurant’s modus operandi.

It all began at home

In the city of Chennai, young Chef Peter stood in his mum’s kitchen and watched her carefully blend in her hand-selected organic ingredients to create sumptuous yet simple dishes. He reminisces skimming through her cookbooks during his pastime just to find the perfect recipe to discuss with his mother. “Till today, I abide by her trick of not overpowering the dish with one too many ingredients.”

Tamil Nadu has indeed amplified his love for food. The aroma of the mutton biryani from his home region and the Indian Ocean king fish fry still tickles his taste buds.

“Food for me is simply அற்புதசுவை, which translates to deliciously awesome.”

The flavoursome spices and rich plethora of delicacies in South Indian cuisine motivated him to get onboard his culinary adventure. “I have come across so many recipes in my career, I have incorporated the finest and well-received recipes in my menu.”

Food memory

Curated straight from Southern India is the restaurant’s signature dish Malabar Prawns – jumbo tiger prawns marinated with coconut, ginger, curry leaves and fresh turmeric, cooked à la minute, in live charcoal tandoor and served with smoked pepper chutney.

Peter’s eventful 22 years in the industry has yielded numerous fruitful souvenirs. He had the privilege to prepare a “memorable lunch” for former US President Bill Clinton at his restaurant.

Peter gets nostalgic while taking a trip memory down the lane: “While cooking for Lord’s Cricket Ground, I had the opportunity to engage with International teams during their games. I used to host a Food Festival in Geneva to introduce the locals in the region to Indian cuisine.”

New challenges, new opportunities

National lockdowns have brought the hospitality industry to a standstill. Peter has tried to maintain a positive outlook on the situation. In such tough times, it is important to look after each other.

He reckons: “My team is like a family and I want them to be there when this is all over. I try to keep them up to date with the latest announcements. Communication with the team is a priority.

“The Eat Out to Help Out scheme was amazing for smaller restaurants and has given some drive for Kahani. However, the second wave and third lockdown has affected our business as an upcoming restaurant in town.”

Kahani has taken this pandemic to venture on to new avenues. Besides the Takeaway Delivery option, Peter has introduced the “Kahani Home Dining Experience”, where the Chef brings his gourmet food to your table and the “Kahani Teaching at Home” model to impart his skills.

Peter has been eagerly waiting to begin his event wing, which will cater to smaller groups and weddings.

Beyond the storm

With the present being tough, Peter goes on to share his advice for ambitious chefs in the hospitality industry.

“Stay calm, focus on what you need to do, learn and create new things. Do not be afraid to experiment and learn from your mistakes. The time will change, and you will reach where you need to be, until then stay focused.”

The Chef remains extremely hopeful of Kahani’s future. As a nascent restaurant, their priority is to regain momentum and start operating as usual by maintaining their standards, consistency, and keeping their guests happy.

Down the line, Peter has plans to introduce a new casual dining experience at St. John’s Wood in London.

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