What was it like living in Mumbai?
It was a bit of a rollercoaster, but you can never be bored in Mumbai. There is always something to do and see. Things aren’t always straightforward, but it has an infectious buzz and rarely does it stop. Rooftops provide welcome relief from the busyness of the streets, and Marine Drive – a 3.6km-long boulevard in South Mumbai – offers a place to sit and contemplate. Despite having a love-hate relationship with the city, it’s the first place I would return to, given the opportunity.
What is your favourite Indian dish, and why?
It’s a draw between a simple Keralan preparation of seafood fry, a beautifully rich butter chicken or a simple meen moilee from the south; or chole bhature and roadside samosas in the north. Preferences are situational and it’s hard to choose just one dish from such an enormous cuisine. How often do you return to India to get more inspiration? As often as possible, which is usually only once or twice a year. I’m hoping as time goes on, though, I will be able to travel there more often.
Where is your favourite place in India, and why?
Ahilya Fort in Indore is very special. Run by Prince Richard Holkhar, it’s a beautiful fortress overlooking the Narmada River, the second holiest in India. Right in the middle of the country, it is a calming and spoiling place to be.
What would you recommend to someone visiting India?
Before you go, be prepared that you are going to a very different country, with very different cultures. The people are lovely and hospitable, so try and respect their way of life. Look around – and try and absorb as much as you can, as there is so much to see. Travelling by train is a brilliant experience, so if you have the time, definitely do that. Eat carefully and well. India has a vast culinary repertoire, so try as much as you can!
Since moving home in 2014, you’ve opened three branches of Kricket before you were 30. How have you been so successful?
I don’t really believe I am successful yet, but I think Kricket’s popularity has been a result of serious hard work, staying real to the original idea, continuing to evolve it, concentrating on what we’re doing rather than anyone else, the right business moves and decisions, and, of course, the staff. Without their hard work and dedication, we’d be nowhere.
Can you explain the concept behind Kricket’s menu?
The food was designed to show people that there was more to Indian food than they imagined. We wanted to showcase the cuisine’s massive variety and lighter side. Every dish is thought out – from its historical origins to how we present it on the plate. We want our food to taste authentic and nostalgic, but also to be new and innovative. We use the best-quality local ingredients, which should only be there to enhance a particular dish.