India born Michelin-starred chef Sriram Ayulur has been named the ‘UK’s Beer Drinker of the Year’ by the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group of the House of Commons. The award is in recognition of the chef’s contribution to the UK’s beer industry. House of Commons MP Andrew Griffiths introduced the London chef as a “beer champion.” Prince Charles and UK’s former PM Gordon Brown have also received the award in the past. The chef who’s the first Indian to receive the award is elated. “It feels great to be contributing to UK’s beer industry and being recognised for it. It is indeed very encouraging,” he says.
Chef Sriram heads Taj Group’s Quilon restaurant in London that serves Indian South west coastal cuisine, paired up with a wide variety of beers. The chef has developed a five-course British beer menu for the restaurant. He has also launched UK’s first Vintage Beer Menu that features nine British beers from Fuller’s brewery in Chiswick, West London.
“British beers are the best companions for Indian Southwest coastal cuisine that’s subtle and light. They don’t become the dominant element in a diners experience but the enhancer of pleasure. That’s why I love working with them,” he says.
The Mumbai born chef worked with the Taj Group of Hotels for 24 years. During his posting in different hotels in South India, he travelled throughout the west coast and learnt cooking from housewives. The chef left for London in 1999. His fondest food memories of India are eating a Sunday lunch cooked by his mother and father, which he calls ‘the best experience in the world’.
Talking about Quilon, he says, “Quilon has been a re-assuring experience in popularising the southern Indian food in London, the culinary capital of Europe”. Quilon is the first restaurant in London to introduce gourmands to southwest coastal cuisine. “Since many guests had a pre conceived notion about what to expect of Indian food, it took us a couple of years to break through that notion and establish ourselves,” he recalls.
His ‘most fulfilling professional experience’, though, was the opening of Karavali Restaurant at the Taj Gateway Hotel, Bangalore, that was conceptualised by him.
Who is Sriram Ayulur?
Chef Sriram Ayulur belongs to Andhra Pradesh
He worked with various Taj Group hotels for 24 years
Ayulur moved to London in 1999
His contribution as an executive chef won London’s Quilon restaurant One Michelin star in 2008
The chef is famous for his beer pairing skills
UK’s Beer Drinker of the Year award
It is an award given by the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group of the House of Commons. The group ‘promotes wholesomeness and enjoyment of beer and the unique role of the pub in UK society’. The award recognises a person’s contribution to UK’s beer industry. Prince Charles had received the award in 2002 for his efforts to save rural pubs. Former UK PM Gordon Brown too, has been the recipient of the award.