Anand George, pioneer of ‘Nouvelle Indian Cuisine’ at the Purple Poppadom, trained as a chef in Cochin, Kerala in 1999. He explains: “I did my two year diploma in culinary arts and kitchen administration. You have an internship as well where you train in hotels for six months.”
The 36 year-old, Kerala-born chef adds: “I always had a passion for food. I come from a traditional family where food was of major importance. We had quite a lot of variety of food. My father and mother come from two different cultures; both of their eating habits were different. I got a chance to see quite a lot. “
Listed in the Michelin guide and The Good Food Guide, the Purple Poppadom opened in December 2011 and has won an array of awards since. “The first problem [when starting Purple Poppadom] is finance in this day and age. Finance and Location. There is a fine balance. When we came here first of all people said: Canton? Cowbridge road? On top of a butchers? But people still come,” he says laughing.
With an open smile Anand explains the inspiration behind his gourmet dishes: “I look into a lot of websites and recipes for inspiration, that’s how I’ve improved myself in the last six years. There are quite a lot of chefs that I definitely admire, I look upon their work and say what can I do with my skills? It is always a learning curve. I was very much impressed with Chef Rick Stein’s programme when he covered Kerala.”
When it comes to creating a new award winning menu the immaculately turned out chef explains: “I have got a team of chefs; six chefs in total. I have got a head chef, Siddartha Singh Rathore, we both worked in 2001 together. He is from Rajasthan. I have chefs from many different parts of India. When we create a new menu we talk about what we could do. I basically tell them these are the things we need to change and we look at four or five dishes. Everyone puts ideas together and we look at trials every other day. We do a presentation and everyone tastes.”
It is not just the restaurant that is busy: “At the moment social media is the best way of creating your message for your customer. We have a dedicated PR company that has been with me for five years. We have just reached 4,000 followers [on Twitter]” he explains animatedly.
Keen to expand Anand George is starting up a new sandwich shop ‘Münchesters’ in the city centre. Keen to keep this a separate enterprise from the Purple Poppadom he explains: “We want to keep one Purple Poppadom.”
Preparations are in full swing for the opening of Münchesters in the first week of December. He describes the shop as: “It is more like a Pret A Manger but with an Indian inspiration. There will be soups, salads, wraps, pastries and cakes.”