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Chef Kanthi Thamma stands infront of 'Dreamer'

The Journey so far...

Kanthi Pop up in Etch by Steven Edwards
Chef Kanthi Thamma cooking in Curryleaf Cafe
Chef Kanthi Thamma cooking in Sri Lanka for a chef lead food tour
Chef Kanthi Thamma cooking in Sri Lanka for a chef lead food tour

I come from a city called Hyderabad in India. I started taking interest in cooking when I was 12 and pursued it further by graduating in Hotel Management. I then worked in Goa for a couple of years before leaving to Switzerland to pursue a diploma in Food and Beverage Management and worked in the most scenic Gstaad where most of the Bollywood movie shoots use to happen in those days.

I then got chosen to work for Walt Disney Walt Resorts, USA in their most luxurious Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa and  got promoted to Disney Cruise Lines and worked with them for an year.

At 23, I  came back to India to run my own restaurant business along with a couple of my friends. A very unique concept called ‘Round the Corner’ was opened in Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad which became a popular hang out for locals and Celebrities. I was the youngest Chef-Entrepreneur in the city.



After a few years, an opportunity to move to the UK came my way and in January 2007 with a dream to open my own restaurant, I landed in Heathrow.

After eating in a few so called ‘Indian’ restaurants, I was very disappointed on what was being sold as Indian food in this country as most of the ‘Curry Houses’ served cheap Anglicised Indian food that is either too sweet or too spicy with no emphasis on flavour. The South Indian representation when it comes to food was just limited to Dosas mainly. There were also a couple of Michelin Indian Restaurants but I noticed a massive gap in the market for a proper South Indian/ street food cafe that is not expensive as Michelin and also serve proper South Indian meals. After working for 6 years in restaurants and reputed chef Jamie Oliver’s Cookery School, I decided it’s time to start something on my own.

THE DECADE 2014-2024


In April 2014, I opened my first venture, Curry Leaf Cafe in Brighton, a beautiful sea side city ( Very soon it became one of the most happening restaurants in Brighton and then went on to open another branch with an open plan kitchen and changed the way South Indian food is presented from traditional large portions to small tapas style plates.  Curry Leaf Cafe won many awards and accolades including Chef of the Year and also Best Indian in South East England at Asian Curry Awards.

After 4.5 years, I moved on to start my next venture -The Spice Circuit, where I traveled across the globe as a guest chef cooking South Indian dinners in countries including Sweden, Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Switzerland where Indian food has still not evolved as much.

Kanthi giving a cooking demo at the Foodies festival
Chef Kanthi Thamma holding an award for Curryleaf cafe
Chef Kanthi Thamma cooking

At the same time I, along with a friend planned something very exciting - Chef led tours to South India and Sri Lanka where I brought a group of food enthusiasts every year and introduced them to Indian /Sri Lankan food, spices and culture. In no time the tours became so popular that they made it to ‘Top 7 Chef  lead tours in the World’ by The New York Times.

After over a year since starting The Spice Circuit , I created a new concept of Indian Pub Food in the UK and opened a Kitchen in a pub called ‘Easy Tiger’ ( where I experimented with food inspired by Indian Bars and Toddy Shops in Kerala. It became an instant success and won The Best New Opening at the Brighton’s Best Restaurant Awards just after 3 months of opening.

Chef Kanthi Thamma stands infront of Easy Tiger in The Hampton Pub Brighton.
Chef owner Kanthi Thamma and Chef owner Diego Ricaurte stand infront of Palmito restaurant.
Chef owner Kanthi Thamma and Chef owner Diego Ricaurte stand infront of Palmito restaurant.

In June 2022, I moved on to open a really exciting concept along with Diego Ricaurte opening Palmito - 'a spice inspired' menu that is one of its kind in the country.

Palmito opened it's doors in September 2022  and rapidly became a firm local favourite. Winning Best New Opening and coming Number 2 in the Top 20 restaurant awards within 6 months of opening.

Palmito made it to the national media when the country’s top food critic and TV presenter, 
Giles Coren paid a visit and reviewed the restaurant in  ‘The Times’  immediately followed by the very prestigious Michelin Guide. 


After just 2 weeks Palmito made its way to become one of UK’s Top 100 restaurants out of 37,000 nominations in The Good Food Guide Top 100 Restaurants of GB. 

When I'm not doing all of this, I love to take time out to teach South Indian cooking lessons at the local community kitchen’s Cookery School and my classes are always one of the fastest to sell out.  (Click here to see whats on!)


I am  looking forward to my food and travel Vlogs  as well as a few global pop ups, events and collaborations starting in the USA and international food events in the year 2024.  Currently in the works we have just launched a Spice circuit x Brighton Gin collaboration where we have infused spices sourced from a family run plantation back in Kerala, as well as another pizza collab with Pizzaface!

Chef Kanthi Thamma in Brighton and Hove community kitchen
Brigi and Kanthi chatting all things food
Chef Kanthi Thamma walking in Sri Lankan forest
Collaboration with Brighton Gin to make an indian inspired gin
Signage for Pop up event
Chef Kanthi Thamma in Brighton and Hove community Kitchen ready for a class
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