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‘Bland’ Charles gets spicier

- Prince curries on with Atul and his mutton menu

London, Aug. 30: Prince Charles is apparently learning more about spicy curries with the help of Atul Kochhar, one of Britain’s best-known Indian chefs.

The heir to the throne was teased about sticking to “bland” British food when he visited India last year with the Duchess of Cornwall.

He has now decided to be slightly more adventurous with his culinary tastes, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Kochhar, who celebrates his 45th birthday on Sunday, received many congratulations when Tamarind, an Indian restaurant in Mayfair where he was the executive chef, won a Michelin star in 2001. Zaika, in Kensington, with Vineet Bhatia, was the other Indian restaurant also to be awarded a Michelin, which until then had appeared the exclusive preserve of European eateries.

Kochhar then left Tamarind and set up his own restaurant, Benares, in Berkeley Square, next door to the offices of Lakshmi Mittal’s ArcelorMittal steel company.

It would be fair to say that the kind of food for which Kochhar has made a name appeals more to westerners.

Kochhar has made a name for himself since then by appearing on television shows, a must if a chef is to be considered a celebrity.

The Daily Telegraph claims that Charles is broadening is taste.

Kochhar told The Daily Telegraph: “I have cooked Indian food for him many times. I help with the Prince’s Trust and also the British Asian Trust (two charities) and I often get asked by him and his trustees to cook for the events, which is fantastic.”

The chef, who presents a popular TV programme called Curry On With Atul Kochhar, declined to reveal what Charles likes but confirmed: “Whenever I am cooking dinner for him, I always put mutton on the menu. He is a big promoter of British mutton and I have always loved it as it lends itself well to Indian cooking.”

Kochhar, speaking at Edible Cinema’s screening of The Hundred-Foot Journey at the Electric cinema in Notting Hill, west London, added that it was a pleasure to cook for the prince.

Charles really ought to be used to Indian food by now since he has visited India many times. Last year he admitted he found spicy food on offer in India “too much to take”.

If at all, Charles inclines to Indian vegetarian food.

He sat next to K.R. Narayanan when the Indian President paid a state visit to the UK in the late 1990s.

When Narayanan was served a masala dosa, Charles insisted he be served one as well. Sam Bhadha, general manager of the St James Court Hotel, the venue for the banquet, was finding it difficult to whip up another masala dosa in time.

In the best Indian tradition of sharing and sharing alike, Narayanan saved the day by cutting his own masala dosa and scooping the bigger portion onto Charles’s plate.