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To Spread The Love Of Cooking: Suresh Pillai, The Celebrity Chef

There is nobody in the world who does not enjoy good food. Food is a passion for all, especially for Malayalees. The Corona period was a time for culinary experiments for Malayalees. Suresh Pillai, our very own Chef Pillai, taught us to spread love and introduced new flavours to Malayalees through his cooking videos on social media.

He is a British chef and restaurateur of Indian descent. Pillai is from a small island called Thekkumbhagom in Kerala’s Kollam district. With backwaters on all four sides, this beautiful island contributed to Suresh Pillai, who battled starvation and is now the sole provider for thousands of people.

Chef Pillai worked in a variety of restaurants, including Veeraswamy, as a chef de partie, sous-chef, and chef de cuisine, culinary director and is now the founder of the restaurant series, Restaurant chef pillai.

Chef Pillai continues to spread culinary adventure through his delicious food

Family And Education

Suresh Pillai was born as the second child of coir workers Sasidharan Pillai and Radhamma. He is married to Remya Suresh and has two children, Aishwarya and Srihari. Pillai received his schooling from Guhanandapuram Higher Secondary School, Chavara south, Kollam.

Chess Player

He was an avid chess player and participated at the state and national levels. He was the under-18 champion of the Kollam district.

Trying Different Jobs

Pillai started working part-time during his school days. He worked in the nighttime in a nearby food stall which provided food for the fishermen of his place. He wanted to pursue other opportunities after working as a security guard. His job quest led him to a small eatery called Chef King. Pillai started working there as a waiter at a salary of 450 rupees.

The success story of 27 years of hard work and strength

His Success Point

He assisted the main chef by peeling, chopping, and doing other things. Once he got a chance to try his hand at cooking. Thus, he recognised the cook in him.

Progress In The Field

He relocated to the Casino Hotel in Kozhikode three years later, where he studied Malabar cuisine. In 1998, he moved to Bangalore’s Coconut Grove, where he learnt Malabar cuisine. He was elevated to head chef after six years of employment. He received his culinary education in South Indian cuisines, including Coorgi, Chettinad, and Konkani. As the position didn’t consider his prior experience, without a culinary degree, he then joined his first five-star hotel, The Leela Palace in Bangalore, as a management trainee.

Dream Come True

After his marriage to Remya, Chef Pillai joined as sous chef at the Kumarakom Lake Resorts and it was working there he got a chance to work at Veeraswamy, perhaps the oldest Indian restaurant in the UK, before moving to Hoppers. Pillai introduced them to stews, fresh marinades, spices and coconut-based sauces. He also learned many new things.

Chef Pillai’s current strategy is to make fine dining into a treasured memory

BBC’s MasterChef 2017

He participated in the 2017 season of the British reality television programme MasterChef: The Professionals, which aired on BBC Two. He made a soufflé in the first round and a Keralan fish curry with mashed potatoes and pachadi with a twist in the second. Suresh Pillai’s signature dish was a fusion of Eastern and Western cuisines.

Back To Home

When he got an opportunity to come back to his home town. Chef Pillai moved to India with his family in 2020 and became the corporate chef and Culinary Director at The Raviz Hotel, Kollam. He chose to work on his land and popularise Kerala Cuisine.His current strategy is to make fine dining into a treasured memory.

Guest professor and chef

At the University of the Bahamas’ Culinary and Hospitality Management Institute, he has served as a guest professor and chef. He felt honoured to get such recognition as being unable to continue his studies.

Media Appearances

He made his acting debut in 2022 with a cameo role in the Malayalam film China Trophy. He also made a guest appearance as a judge on a cooking competition in a Malayalam TV serial. Pillai participated in an info entertainment programme and also worked as a judge in many cooking competitions.

He strictly ensures that the kitchens under his control adhere to the highest hygiene standards

Restaurant Chain

He opened his first restaurant under “ Restaurant Chef Pillai“ in Bangalore in 2021, followed by a second location at the Le Meridien Hotel in Kochi in 2022. He has opened outlets, RCP in Doha and United Coconut in Thrissur. Without sacrificing the flavour or authenticity of the food, he strictly ensures that the kitchens under his control adhere to the highest hygiene standards.

Surprise Gift To Mother

Pillai was proud enough to showcase his mother’s Kerala fish curry on the Master Chef stage. As this son is concerned, his mother has been a great cook ever since and the seafood in his area is the best and richest in India. Last year, he bought his first car, a new Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which he gifted to his mother. His family is his strength. The most delicious dishes on Pillai’s menu are Venad Pal konju, Fish Nirvana, Oyster Ashtamudi, Ginger Tamarind Chicken Wing, Prawn Mango Curry, Unniyappam Falooda etc.

He plans to launch eleven projects this year

What Next

This ambassador of Kerala cuisine plans to launch eleven projects this year, with twenty more in the works, creating more employment opportunities.His much-awaited autobiographical book “Ruchi Nirvana” will be released soon.

The journey of a 16-year-old who had to drop out of school due to circumstances to become celebrity chef Pillai is a success story of 27 years of hard work and strength. He is a chaser of his dreams and an inspirational figure who scales the culinary world through his determination and hard work. He touched the hearts of every Malayalee with his soft words and became a social media star. Having taught Malayalees to cook Nirvana, set the standards of fine dining and taught people to approach cooking with so much love and simplicity, Chef Pillai continues to spread culinary adventure through his delicious food.

Credits and References