Divesh Anand

The head chef at Five Rivers A La Carte in Walsall, Divesh Anand is obsessed with Indian food but also enjoys exploring world cuisine. He’ll even try beans on toast – as long as they’re spiced up with masala… 

Tell us about your cooking

My style is innovative and contemporary. I have a vast knowledge of traditional Indian cooking methods and recipes and bring an exciting fusion in marrying authentic Indian cuisine with contemporary plating that’s on trend. 

How did you become a chef?

I have always had a passion about great food from a young age and was encouraged to follow this by my family. I pursued my hobby and instantly knew – when I enrolled for an internship at the Oberoi Hotel Group – that I was born for hospitality! You have to be cut from a certain type of cloth to succeed in this sector, and especially a vibrant kitchen. I rapidly grew through the ranks and have had the pleasure of catering for many celebrities, government officials and VIPs in my career. 

What do you eat at home?

I am obsessed with Indian cuisine but enjoy exploring and broadening my knowledge on world cuisine. I particularly like Thai and Italian and will experiment at home from time to time. 

Who’s the best chef in the world and why? And who’s the best in Brum?

There are many great chefs in the world, but Gaggan Anand, for me, is the best among the modern Indian cuisine sector. As for Birmingham, I haven’t been here long as I arrived from UAE in summer of last year, but working very closely with executive chef Rashpal Sunner here at Five Rivers, I understand why he has been so highly acclaimed in the Birmingham scene. 

What was your favourite food as a kid?

No brainer… Nihari Gosht, served on the bone, which will be a new addition and feature on our new a la carte menu – a must try! 

Food heaven and food hell?

Heaven is black daal because it’s wholesome, flavoursome, affordable and reminds me of my childhood and home comforts. As for hell, when I came to this country I discovered beans on toast – it’s so plain! But if you spice it up with masala I might be willing to give it another go… 

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten?

When in Paris, I had to try snails. They were well marinated in a fresh garlic puree. Very unusual for me, but I was pleasantly surprised. 

If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?

Tough question! I really can’t imagine life doing anything else, although I do enjoy travelling – so maybe a pilot? I am very lucky that I can share my passion and love for food and travel while doing it. This is my fourth country where I can showcase my culinary style after India, Qatar and the UAE.

Five Rivers, 11 Vicarage Place, Walsall, WS1 3NA. fiveriversalacarte.co.uk