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'Challenging for an Indian chef overseas to prove himself on home ground'

IANS  |  Chennai 

London-based may be a Michelin-starred Indian with over 25 years of experience. But in India, he is born again, with a flourish, setting up the in The Hotel in Prasad also recently curated dishes for the major that owns the Sumeru brand.

"The challenge for an Indian who has established himself overseas is to prove his mettle in his home country," Prasad, now running his own consulting company, told IANS.

Many chefs and brand experts IANS spoke to agreed that Prasad's tie-up with is a first-of-its-kind in the country -- curating the for a brand and his name and image featuring on the product pack. The tagline on the product pack says: Michelin-starred Alfred Prasad's Signature Dishes.

"The Omya at The and Sumeru are the two opportunities for me to prove myself as an Indian chef once again," Prasad said.

Queried about his professional journey from traditional to frozen foods, Prasad said: "The talks with started a year back. We wanted to disrupt the market in Earlier, it was only fried stuff and raw frozen vegetables and not the gourmet range," Prasad said.

The Bengaluru-based company recently launched four -- Super Millet Kichidi, Coromandel Roasted Chicken, and Signature -- curated by Prasad.

"Eight more products are in the development pipeline," Prasad said.

Prasad is quite elated as his name and image will enter thousands of Indian and overseas homes.

"The ready-to-eat or is about Rs 3,500 crore, out of which will be about Rs 1,000 crore, (supplies to quick-service restaurants) Rs 1,500 crore and hotels and restaurants about Rs.1,000 crore," Innovative Foods told IANS.

On the setting up of Omya restaurant, Prasad said: "For the Oberois, the property is prestigious. When they refurbished the property, they decided to have an Indian restaurant."

"I told the Oberoi's top management, it should be collaborative effort with their knowledge of the local market as I didn't know the current market after being in for over 20 years," Prasad said.

Looking back, Prasad said the training at Bukhara and Dum Pukht at ITC Maurya in Delhi and working in the at ITC Park Sheraton in Chennai gave him a good foundation in Indian cuisine.

He said he went to to work in and later joined the In 2002, at the age of 29, he got the star.

"I was not chasing stars... it happened on its own. The star rating is given based on what is on the plate and not on other considerations like the restaurant decor," Prasad explained.

Experts agreed that as far as the Indian restaurant and the is concerned, Prasad is a new face now with a reputation built in

So, can a new brand be created parachuting an into

"A chef builds his brand equity first by in a restaurant and creating goodwill for the outlet and for himself. Hosting a cookery show on a TV channel and authoring cook books are other ways," Chef K. Damodaran, a celebrity chef and a brand for couple of products, told IANS.

"A chef becomes a brand when the restaurant/hotel decides to invest and promote him as its public face," said Chef S. Koushik, the promoter of the Eatitude food and

"A can turn into a brand after decades of hard work, giving consistent results and building a good reputation," Harish Bijoor, brand expert and of Harish Consults Inc, told IANS.

"Having a digital presence, apart from TV shows, is another requisite for a chef to turn into a brand. Once the reputation is gained and a professional evolves into a brand, it is then a game of geography," he added.

"An individual brand is limited by geography. Taste is geographic and so is a chef's brand equity," noted.

In the case of Prasad, after gaining a reputation and the prestigious star in London for Indian cuisine, he has returned to land of the cuisine he is known for abroad.

"Prasad, an Indian-born chef who was trained here and accomplished much in London, is a good fit for the Sumeru brand. With advertising, it is a matter of time before Prasad becomes a chef brand in India," Koushik said.

(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at v.jagannathan.com)

--IANS

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, December 05 2018. 12:44 IST
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