Cyrus Todiwala OBE
Cyrus Todiwala is Executive Chef and Proprietor along with his wife Pervin, of Cafe Spice Namaste , renowned for its innovative and fresh approach to Indian cuisine. 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. Despite his parents original fears, Cyrus decided to pursue a career in catering, graduating in Hotel Administration and Food Technology from Bombays Basant Kumar Somani Polytechnic and rising to become Corporate 2 Executive Chef of the famous Taj Groups Taj Holiday Village, The Fort Aguada Beach Resort and The Aguada Hermitage in Goa. In 1989 he joined an old friend in restarting a famous restaurant in Poona. He left India for Australia in 1991, but on the behest of one of his old friends decided to come to London to run the Namaste restaurant in Alie Street where he developed his hallmark style of blending traditional Indian culinary techniques and flavours with more unexpected ingredients. Ever the keen environmentalist (he helped to establish two bird sanctuaries in Goa), Cyrus cooks with organic and sustainable products wherever possible and firmly believes in Buying British. The restaurant is a mainstay of all the stylish restaurant guides. Frommers London Guide has consistently named Cafe Spice Namaste their favourite Indian restaurant in London, where the competition is stiff , while Tatler has named it one of the best restaurants in the capital serving Sub-continental cuisine. Hardens called it still a winner, after all these years . The restaurant has won numerous awards, including the 2011 Sustainable Food Award from the Corporation of London.
My connection with seafood
Very often you will notice my repetitiveness with the word sustainability, or megrim and dab etc. and all of this is due to the fact that I feel extremely strongly about safeguarding the marine resources of Britain. Several years ago, before coming to Britain, I worked in Goa and seldom did we think about the fish we cooked and ate and sold in the hotels. Today many of those resources are severely depleted and whilst there is awareness, sadly corruption and lack of care have resulted in much devastation. For instance the giant green lip mussel of Goa is today not as good to eat due to heavy pollution in the waters, fish such as Grey Grouper, and Bombay Salmon, Pomfret, tuna, shark and others have all become so scarce that there is threat of disappearance.
Why sustainability is important to me
Here in Britain, just like in other countries, people get addicted or totally accustomed to certain kinds of fish only and will not deviate to trying other equally great fish. This puts serious pressures on natural resources and most definitely on certain species. This is one reason why we must as an island nation support our fisher-folk and also ensure that we take precautions to leave a good legacy behind with an abundance of fish for an ever increasing fish loving population. Therefore practicing sustainability is the key and the more we are conscious of this the better it is for everyone.