Life lessons: Atul Kochhar

The top Indian chef Atul Kochhar shares his philosophies on life.

Atul Kochhar, the first Indian chef to earn a Michelin star, shares his life lessons with M.
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Atul Kochhar, 41, was the first Indian chef to earn a Michelin star, at the restaurant Tamarind in London. He won a second star at Benares, also in London, and consulted for both UAE branches of Zafran. He lives in west London with his wife and daughter

1. Dare to dream - be different - live with passion! We should dare to dream big - people need goals and ambitions. But to really make a difference you must pursue them. Success comes from drive, from following a plan of attack, and realising these dreams. To make it big, dream big and follow your passion. Whatever you do in life, do it only if you have a passion for it - your success will be sweeter. Without passion, work or business is soulless.

2. Be inspired. It's essential to look for inspirational heroes and movements that excite and motivate you. It's the only way to have that "Eureka" moment. Inspiration can come at any time, from anything, so it's important that you're constantly absorbing the world around you. Seasons, food, conversations, movies, a picture, a person - anything. For me it's often my motherland's history, heritage, ethos, rituals, traditions and religions that inspire me. I love India.

3. Create, don't copy. "Creativity means not copying," the French chef Jacques Maximin said in 1987, and it's absolutely true. Particularly in food, creativity is the boldness and bravery to try new things. They won't always work, but when they do, that's what makes your dish stand out.

4. Hire people who are smarter than you. Surrounding yourself with a team who are smarter, more driven and more inspired is the way to push yourself and learn new things. An individual cannot do everything that's required for a business to succeed, so lead by example, and don't ever be afraid to learn from your colleagues.

5. Be open to criticism. Criticism is vital to help you grow and evolve into a better organisation and individual. It can be painful, but you must rise above it, understand the motivation behind it, and improve your plan.

As told to Emily Shardlow