Chef Priyam Chatterjee the first Indian Chef to hold French Award
Chef Priyam Chatterjee on 12 August became the first Indian Chefs to be awarded the “Chevalier de L’Ordre du Mérite Agricole” by the government of France to recognize his contribution towards reinventing the gastronomic scene in India.
Chatterjee is best known for reviving the traditional dishes from his native state West bengal and giving it a French twist. The award, originally instituted in 1833 by the French recognises contribution to agriculture, the agro food industry, or gastronomy. Chatterjee, who’d spent almost three years cooking contemporary European fare at Qla before his seven month role at Rooh is the first Indian chef to receive it.
“I am living my dream at this moment because any form of words or dialogue will not justify this moment,” he said.
Chatterjee added that the two major factors influencing his culinary practice were that of his family and France. Born into a Bengali family of “exceptional cooks and artists”, where feasts were a regular affair, it was only natural for a young Chatterjee to love everything about food, be it eating, or serving.
He realised French cuisine was his true calling during his very first professional stint at Park Hyatt in Hyderabad where he met French chef Jean Claude who trained Chatterjee to “learn French cuisine, precisely and with passion.”
“In the process, what he did was he made me fall in love with France completely!” the chef said.
Chatterjee is currently the head chef at Jaan Restaurant Yacht in France, before which he was the head chef of Rooh, and Qla, both located in Mehrauli here. He also takes a keen interest in music as well as art.
“This is actually the first time that we are celebrating the talent of a young chef at this embassy by conversing this distinction.
“This honour recognizes your talent and your commitment to promoting French cuisine,” Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India, said.
The award, stated in 1883, the ‘Ordre du Mérite Agricole’ (Order of Agricultural Merit) is a characteristic bestowed by the French Republic for exceptional contributions, among others, to agriculture, agro-food industry and gastronomy.