Chef Kumar Mahadevan has become widely regarded as the Godfather of Indian cuisine in Australia.
Appearing on Masterchef twice and with a book deal in the pipeline, it is no wonder that Chef Kumar Mahadevan 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, 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 to Sydney Chef Praveen Annand, 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.