Appearing on Masterchef and with his first book From India recently released, it is no wonder that Chef Kumar Mahadevan (of Aki’s and Abhi’s restaurants) has become widely regarded as the ‘Godfather of Indian cuisine’.
Kumar Mahadevan got a taste for Indian cuisine from an early age, learning long-held family recipes in his mother’s kitchen as a child. Knowing instinctively that cooking was to be his career path, he embarked on his culinary education at the age of 17 at India’s Institute of Hotel Management. From here, Chef Kumar went on to complete his apprenticeship at the Taj Intercontinental Hotel in Bombay, before moving to Australia in 1985 to work. He soon found himself in Australia heading up the kitchen at the highly regarded Mayur restaurant, where he cooked for the likes of Prince Phillip and Mick Jagger.
Inspired by these experiences and demonstrating a natural flair for flavour combination, Chef Kumar opened his first restaurant, Abhi’s in North Strathfield – named after his first son – in 1990. Now, more than 20 years on, Abhi’s has obtained status as one of Sydney’s cult dining hot spots, testament to the popularity of Chef Kumar’s distinctive and elegant brand of Indian fare. Following this, Chef Kumar embarked on a more ambitious operation, Aki’s, on the historic finger Wharf in Woolloomooloo, named after his second son. Both restaurants showcase Kumar’s modern interpretation of Indian food – the light, delicate flavours and generous use of fresh, aromatic spices have since become Chef Kumar’s signature.
Chef Kumar delights in creating dishes that combine the best of local seafood and fresh produce, rich with the flavours of his native Southern India – a contemporary approach to a traditional cuisine that has won him praise and respect. In addition to his Masterchef appearances, Chef Kumar was chosen by Joanna Savill, Director of SIFF, to represent the flavours and colours of Indian cuisine in the first Sydney International Food Festival. Chef Kumar also brought Chef Praveen Annand to Sydney, who is internationally acclaimed for his knowledge of Southern Indian cooking. His association with Praveen Annand continues today, with Chef Kumar making regular visits to continue his education on both the historic and contemporary aspects of Indian food.
It is not just Chef Kumar’s widely recognised skills in the kitchen that have helped to gain him such widespread status. A charming and loquacious man, Chef Kumar’s endearing effervescence has ensured he is as celebrated for his food as he is for his character.
Chef Kumar’s role as an ambassador of Indian cuisine in Australia is his career legacy.
QUOTES FROM REVIEWS
“Kumar Mahadevan, Chef/Owner of ABHI’s Indian Restaurant, named 13 years ago after his son, is still going strong.” – Dining with Kerry Boyne, The Sunday Telegraph
“The entrees read like a scintillating collection of short stories and we want them all…” – A Fine Balance, Helen Greenwood, The Sydney Morning Herald
“Abhi’s takes the Indian meal to another level of existence” – Surprise Package, Lucy Clark, The Daily Telegraph
“Unlike many ethnic chefs, Kumar was formally trained – in India by the Taj Hotel Group, and worked in the middle east before coming to Sydney. Such experience makes a difference.” – Search and Enjoy, Les Luxford, The Sydney Morning Herald
“Abhis’ owner, Kumar Mahadevan originally came to Australia as the tandoori chef at the old Mayur, where he has cooked for Prince Phillip and Mick Jagger.” – BITE, Les Luxford, The Sydney Morning Herald
Aki’s is located at 1/6 Cowper Wharf Rd, Woolloomooloo.
To make a reservation please call 02 9332 4600 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For images, interviews and further media information, please contact:
David Wasserman at Wasamedia
Phone: 02 9360 7227