On Sunday 30th October, six of London's top Indian chefs united for our second annual Diwali Banquet, this year at The Cinnamon Club in Westminster, raising more than £25,000 for Action Against Hunger's international work.
Revered chefs Vivek Singh of The Cinnamon Club and Cinnamon Kitchen, Anirudh Arora of Moti Mahal, Navin Bhatia of Dockmaster's House, Dhruv Baker, Masterchef winner 2010 and Sriram Aylur of The Quilon prepared a delicious course each on the night.
Guests were welcomed to the Cinnamon Club with drinks and delicious canapés, prepared by the Cinnamon Club's head chef Rakesh Ravindran before being seated for an extravagant dinner during which each top chef prepare a course to contribute to this special night of Indian festivity.
The fantastic food was complemented by entertainment from the fantastic multi-instrumentalist Baluji Shrivastav, and award winning Indian wines from Sula. Guests also had the opportunity to win luxury and money-can't-buy items through our raffle and auction.
The Cinnamon Club where the focus is to celebrate the spirit of innovation, creativity and excellence were our host for the night.
Constantly evolving and pushing boundaries to exceed expectation. The Cinnamon Club experience always aims to be pleasantly surprising.
Set in the historic Grade II listed former Westminster library, this stunning restaurant has gone from strength to strength in the 10 years since it opened. It believes that combining this with charming and attentive service creates one of the finest restaurant experiences in the world.
Nigel Barden is the food & drink presenter on the Simon Mayo Show on Radio 2, as he was for 4 years on the Sony Gold winning Chris Evans Show. He’s also on the Robert Elms Show on BBC London & the Shaun Keaveny Show on BBC 6 Music. Formerly Nigel was a Yorkshire based wine merchant, before heading to drama school in London in 1990, when he also started reviewing restaurants on GLR (Greater London Radio).
He hosted the Drinking Out Excellence Awards (2010 & 2009) & judged the Britvic Business Food & Drink Journalist Awards for the past 3 years. He compered the launch of Nintendo Super Mario, the Time Out Eating & Drinking Awards 2005-6, the Havana Club & Stolichnaya Cocktail Championships & presented a piece on the International Cocktail Grand Prix in Cuba, for BBC1. He fronted the Cuban Music Awards Concert in Battersea Park. He contributes to the BBC1 Inside Out programme & filmed a piece on Freegans, having lived as one & on Pop Up Restaurants earlier this year.
Baluji was born and educated in India . Since childhood music has been his language and has transported him through many obstacles and taken him around the world. He is a composer, arranger , performer and teacher crossing cultural barriers but always maintaining his integrity. A world authority on Indian Classical music his talent has been recognised by the music world at large.
Baluji recently performed with Stevie Wonder and features on the Noel Gallagher album to be released next summer. He is an ambassador for Indian musical culture and has recently set up his own registered charity called the Baluji Music Foundation to enable more people to “share the joy of music”. His current project is the Inner Vision Orchestra of blind musicians. For further information about Baluji and to listen online see www.baluji.com and www.balujimusicfoundation.org
Classically trained in India with the acclaimed Oberoi Group, Vivek has always believed that as with other creative forms, Indian cuisine should evolve over time. By designing from the very outset a menu based wholly on modern Indian dishes, Vivek placed himself firmly at the forefront of the movement to take Indian cuisine ‘beyond authenticity’.
He has authored 3 bestselling cookbooks and is a familiar face on TV, with regular appearances on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen and UKTV’s Market Kitchen.
Following up on the success of the Cinnamon Club, Vivek and his team launched Cinnamon Kitchen and Anise in the City in 2008.
Head chef Anirudh Arora is a prodigious talent. Aged 25 he was cooking for Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, then Prime Minister of India. In 2002, he was brought in to head up Udaimahal restaurant at one of Rajasthan’s most important new hotels, the Oberoi-owned Udaivilãs. The property was immediately applauded for its sophisticated classic Indian cuisine.
It is Ani’s obsession with detail that makes him such a conspicuous talent, as well as his curiosity for the cuisines of India and its border country. The son of an Indian army officer, he has spent time in regions as diverse as Kashmir, Ladakh, Lucknow and Calcutta, these formative experiences informing his broad repertoire of culinary knowledge, his research missions continually drawing him back to India.
Ani is currently the head chef of Moti Mahal, which is consistently rated among the top 5 Indian restaurants in London.
Navin gave in to his childhood passion for food and launched himself into the culinary world when he gave up a career in medicine to enrol in The Institute of Hotel Management in Mumbai. After 3 years of intensive training in Indian and Continental cuisine, he was selected by the renowned Oberoi Hotel as Kitchen Trainee. During his time there he was awarded the Gold Medal for the class of 1987. It was no surprise that he returned to the Oberoi School as a trainer, during which time he trained many of London’s current high profile Michelin starred chefs.
Over the years, Navin has set new foundations for Indian cuisine and is regarded as one of the leading new wave Indian chefs in the UK, with a natural flair for exciting, innovative cuisine that caters to the more health conscious diner. For Dockmaster's House Restaurant, Navin has created a menu featuring ancient, traditional Indian recipes using modern British ingredients to create a lighter, more contemporary menu. His vision is to bring back to Indian cuisine what has been lost over the years... distinctive flavours, aromas and style!
From the first time Sriram stepped into his father’s kitchen, it was the beginning of a long quest for passion and knowledge of food. “I remember being fascinated by the smell and aromas which used to come from the kitchen – it was my first love”.
Sriram started his culinary studies in 1984, and by 1989 had joined the luxury hotel group Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, becoming executive chef at Gateway Hotel Bangalore. By 1997, the Telegraph ranked him one of the top 5 chefs in India. In 1999, Sriram opened the Quilon Restaurant in Westminster which achieved a Michelin Star in 2008.
His vision about the food – like everything else in the world – is progressive. Progression is logical in this world and true with everything. Therefore, the Quilon’s menu is an amalgamation of Ethnic and Progressive dishes for example – Black Cod, Asparagus and Mange Tout and Lobster butter pepper.
Dhruv Baker is the highly acclaimed winner of Masterchef 2010. He was born in Mexico, moving to India at the age of 4, and has been deeply influenced by the cuisines of these cultures. In particular Dhruv has always had a love of and an affinity with Indian spices, and his style of cooking involves blending them to give beautifully complex, layered flavours.
Since winning Masterchef last year, Dhruv has spent time in some of the best kitchens in the UK and Europe, putting his passion into practice. By merging the culinary techniques and heritage of European cuisine with the wonders of Asian spicing, he creates delicious results that are greater than the sum of their parts.
Rakesh grew up in Kerala and upholds his state’s tradition of highest levels of education; other than being a qualified chef, he also has masters in mathematics and is a qualified computer professional.
His love of cooking landed him a job at the residency hotel in South-India where he learnt his ropes and then moved to Simla to join the Oberoi hotels. Rakesh joined the Cinnamon Club in 2003 and has always been one of their frontline chefs. Cooking is his passion and he is one of the generation of ‘thinking chefs’ who with their ability to combine the best of both the worlds, will take Indian cuisine to the next level.
A huge thank you to the Cinnamon Club, the chefs, to Nigel Barden and to Baluji Shrivastav for their support for this event.
Thank you to our fantastic auction donors:
CJ Poupazis, The Angela Malik Cook School, Tasty Tuscany Cookery School, Manju Malhi, The Broad Gallery, Shunya, The Greenhouse, Middlesex County Cricket Club, The England and Wales Cricket Board, Kololi Beach Club Resort, Uncorked Ltd., Galoupet, The Lady Ottoline, Lime Street Exchange, Roti Chai, Boisdale of Belgravia, The Clerkenwell Kitchen, Bill's, Dove Spa, REN Skincare, Beach Blanket Babylon, Dockmaster's House, Amico Bio, Cafe VN, The Red Fort, La Cave, Mestizo, L'Escargot.
For further information, please contact Events Officer Lizzie Charles by phone on 020 8853 7570 or on email@example.com