WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
Before Café Spice Namasté, there was a small restaurant on a narrow street near the City of London called 'Namaste'. The word means 'a warm hello' in Hindi. Here the Bombay-born, bred and trained Chef Cyrus Todiwala began to develop his hallmark style of blending traditional Indian and classical French culinary techniques and flavours with more unexpected ingredients.
This ethos quickly evolved further at Café Spice Namasté, the restaurant that he and Pervin helped to establish in 1995, eventually taking over the business completely.
Today, our restaurant, set in a Grade II-listed former magistrate's court, resembles a warm, airy and
colourful family home.
Together, Cyrus and Pervin have built an award-winning institution renowned worldwide for a consistently innovative and fresh approach to Indian cuisine. Café Spice Namasté has held a coveted Michelin BIB Gourmand for 18 years, and we are pioneers in the UK hospitality industry's campaign for the environment and sustainability.
We hold a Green Apple Award for Environmental Best Pratice, and won the Sustainable Food Award at the 2011 City of London Sustainable Cities Awards. In 2013, we were named the Best Asian Restaurant at the prestigious Asian Business Awards.
The 2014 BBC Food Personality of the Year, Cyrus was born and brought up in Bombay, where his father was the first Indian employee of the Automobile Association and later the Chief of Road Service Western India. He was first inspired to become a chef by his mother’s unforgettable cooking, so rather than following in his father’s footsteps, he chose the road less travelled.
After graduating in Hotel Administration & Food Technology from Bombay’s Basant Kumar Somani Polytechnic, Cyrus quickly made his mark. From a trainee chef, he rose to become Corporate Executive Chef of the famous Taj Group’s Taj Holiday Village, The Fort Aguada Beach Resort & The Aguada Hermitage in Goa. By this time, he and Pervin had two young boys, Jamsheed, now a designer in London, and Hormuzd, an actor. Both sons are now active in the family business.
In 1991, after a stint relaunching a restaurant in Poona, Cyrus moved his family to London, where they have remained eversince. Today, in his bastion Café Spice Namasté, Cyrus is known for his refined, elegantly spiced and sophisticated cooking. He has cooked for royalty, presidents and international celebrities and is often invited to be a guest chef at food festivals and hotels from Dubai to Durban, and all across the United Kingdom.
Ever the keen environmentalist (he helped to establish two bird sanctuaries in Goa), and a champion of sustainability, Cyrus chooses to cook with organic and sustainable products wherever possible and firmly believes in 'buying British'. He is an advisor on HRH The Prince of Wales’ Mutton Renaissance Movement and on the London Food Board.
He has a deep passion for education and training, and is an Honorary Professor of the University of West London's prestigious London School of Hospitality, Tourism & Leisure. He holds an Honorary Doctorate from London Metropolitan University. Cyrus often devotes time to training fresh talent, and enjoys influencing tomorrow’s chefs as an Ambassador for the Springboard Charity. In 2013, he launched his brainchild, Zest Quest Asia, with the Masterchefs of Great Britain. The competition is designed to recognise 'homegrown' student chefs who can best demonstrate their talents in Asian cookery.
The erudite Cyrus is also the author of five phenomenally successful cookbooks – Café Spice Namasté, International Cuisine India, Indian Summer, dedicated to the memory of a much-loved nephew, The Incredible Spice Men (a tie-up of the hugely popular BBC series) and Mr Todiwala's Bombay: Recipes and Memories of India. He is the only Indian chef in the UK to have been recorded for the archives of the British Library. No stranger to the media, he appears regularly on BBC1′s Saturday Kitchen, on the BBC Radio 4 Food Programme, and is often interviewed on radio. In 2013, he appeared in the hit BBC food series, 'The Incredible Spice Men'.
In 2009, both Cyrus and Pervin were convinced to build on their distinctive Parsee name (‘Todiwala’ - somewhere back in his family history, there were vendors of todi, the sap of palm trees) to launch a unique hand-made product range, including pickles and chutneys, under the ‘Mr Todiwala’s’ brand. These are all hand-made in Café Spice Namasté, and have been carried by Harvey Nichols and sold at the Taste of London, The Real Food Festival in Borough Market and the Abergavenny Food Festival.
Cyrus is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, a Fellow of the Craft Guild of Chefs and The Master Chefs of Great Britain, a Founding Member of the Guild of Entrepreneurs and a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Cooks. He is a Trustee of Learning for Life and the Time & Talents Association, and an Ambassador of The Clink. He is also the Patron of the British Lop Society. He has an MBE for his services to education and an OBE for his contribution to the hospitality industry.
For more information on Cyrus Todiwala OBE DL
Pervin Todiwala 0207 488 9242
Gina McAdam 0787 964 9030