‘One of London’s 1000 Most Influential People (Foodies)’- The London Evening Standard, November 2010
Cyrus, a Parsee, 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. He was first inspired to become a chef by his mother’s unforgettable cooking, so rather than following in his father’s footsteps, he chose the road less travelled.
After graduating in Hotel Administration & Food Technology from Bombay’s Basant Kumar Somani Polytechnic, Cyrus quickly made his mark. From a trainee chef, he rose to become Corporate Executive Chef of the famous Taj Group’s Taj Holiday Village, The Fort Aguada Beach Resort & The Aguada Hermitage in Goa. By this time, he and Pervin had two young boys, Jamsheed, now an environmental designer in Bombay, and Hormuz, a budding actor.
In 1991, after a stint relaunching a restaurant in Poona, he moved his family to London, where they have remained eversince. Today, in his bastion Cafe Spice Namaste, housed in a stunning Grade II-listed building, a former magistrate’s court, Cyrus is known for his refined, elegantly spiced and sophisticated cooking. He has cooked for royalty, presidents and international celebrities and is often invited to be a guest chef at food festivals from Dubai to Durban.
Ever the keen environmentalist (he helped to establish two bird sanctuaries in Goa), and a champion of sustainability, Cyrus chooses to cook with organic and sustainable products wherever possible and firmly believes in Buying British. He is an advisor on HRH The Prince of Wales’ Mutton Renaissance Movement and on the London Food Board. He has a deep passion for education and training, and is an Honorary Professor of Thames Valley University’s prestigious London School of Hospitality, Tourism & Leisure. He holds an Honorary Doctorate from London Metropolitan University. Cyrus often devotes time to training fresh talent, and enjoys influencing tomorrow’s chefs. He has been judging Springboard UK’s FutureChef competition for several years.
The erudite Cyrus is also the author of three phenomenally successful cookbooks – Café Spice Namasté, International Cuisine India and, most recently, Indian Summer, dedicated to the memory of a much-loved nephew. He also contributes articles occasionally to various periodicals including Caterer and Hotelkeeper and Stockpot. He is the only Indian chef in the UK to have been recorded for the archives of the British Library. No stranger to the media, he appears regularly on BBC1′s Saturday Kitchen, on Daybreak on ITV1, and is often interviewed on radio, includiing BBC Radio 4 and LBC Radio.
In 2009, Cyrus was convinced to build on his distinctive Parsee name (‘Todiwala’ - somewhere back in his family history, there were vendors of todi, the sap of palm trees) to launch a unique hand-made product range, including pickles and chutneys, under the ‘Mr Todiwala’s’ brand. These are all hand-made in Cafe Spice Namaste, and have been carried by Selfridge’s Food Halls (the sauces), and The Real Food Festival in Borough Market and Southbank Centre. In fact, ‘Mr Todiwala’s’ (Make your taste buds tingle!) is a staple at all prestigious food festivals, including the Abegavenny Food Festival, dubbed the ‘Cannes of Food’.
As for the real Mr Todiwala, believe it or not, mostly you’ll find him cooking in Cafe Spice Namaste’s working kitchen. And when he’s on stage (literally and figuratively), he’s urging everyone to buy British, find comfort and joy in the kitchen, and learn all they can, and more, about great Indian food. Namaste!