Reena Ranger, Chair of Women Empowered, is In Conversation with Atul Kochhar as part of her regular series for 'iGlobal' to explore some inspirational facets from the life and achievements of prominent Global Indians.
Atul Kochhar is one of the UK's most celebrated chefs and the very first Indian chef to receive the coveted Michelin star. He now offers a range of Indian fine-dining experience with the likes of Kanishka, Sindhu and Vaasu and here he tells Reena about the tough lockdown impact on the hospitality industry, rowing against the stream and holding on to the strong belief that tomorrow will be a better day.
How has the coronavirus lockdown changed your world?
It's been quite a difficult period to go through.I haven't seen anything like this ever before.To see all your successful businesses come to a standstill with massive costs attached to them have been a painful experience. The losses and loss of earnings may not be re-coverable.
Mentally, it has been a testing time.I had to hold on to my beliefs that tomorrow will be better than today. Not only did I have to look after my loved ones but also keep my team motivated.And though we have returned to our workplaces, it won't be the same again for long time to come - especially in central London.
What were the defining moments that led to you becoming a?Michelin star chef?
It was quite something to be recognised by the coveted star guide.It was my thinking that Indian food can be modernised.
I led the team to row against the stream, which helped me achieved the status I got for Indian cuisine in the 'Michelin Guide' for the first time in the history.
Which one person has had the greatest influence in your life, and why?
My parents.They both not only taught me about the ropes of life but also made me the person I am today.?
Hard work, keeping cool during adverse times, thinking out of the box, forward thinking and truth loving are some of the characteristics my parents gave me in my upbringing.?
If you could go back and give your teenage self one bit of advice, what would it be?
Tomorrow will be better than today! Control your anxiety.
*The views expressed in the answers are of the interviewees.