Michelin-Star Executive Chef
Co-Owner and Executive Chef of SAAR Indian Bistro in New York City, Michelin-star Chef Hemant Mathur is one of the nation’s top Tandoor masters. He has contributed to the success of some of New York City’s top Indian restaurants – laying the groundwork for the popularity and respect now given to the ethnic cuisine throughout Mathur’s home state – Jaipur - and beyond. A virtuoso whose instrument is the traditional Indian clay oven, Mathur has earned numerous accolades and esteemed recognition over his 30-year career. Referred to as the “Yo-Yo Ma of tandoor cooking,” he is a virtuoso whose instrument is the traditional Indian clay oven. This extends beyond his restaurant work to the wide array of distinguished private, corporate, and wedding events he has catered over the past ten years.
The first Indian chef in the U.S. to be awarded a Michelin star, he retained this prestigious award at two New York City restaurants - Devi, and Tulsi. He first came to America from his hometown of Jaipur, India after working in Mexico and Germany. His career began at the Rambagh Palace Taj Hotel in Jaipur where he honed his skills working throughout the kitchen – from the bakery to butchering garde manger. He then perfected his tandoor skills at the world-renowned Bukhara Restaurant in the Maurya Sheraton Hotel in Delhi. Eager to expand his horizons, he went on to serve as a private chef for British financier Sir James Goldsmith in Mexico, and then returned to India as the opening chef for Sonar Goan in Calcutta’s Bengal Hotel before he was recruited by a group of German restaurateurs to bring his craft to Berlin’s Seeterrson and Kashmir Palace.
In 2000, he opened NYC’s successful Tamarind Restaurant with the late Chef Raji Jallepali before moving on to Diwan Grill in 2002, and the popular eatery Amma in 2003.
In 2004, Chef Mathur teamed up with Suvir Saran and opened Devi near Union Square, which, under his lead, became the country’s first Michelin-starred Indian restaurant in 2007. In 2010, he opened Tulsi, on Manhattan’s East side, which also received Michelin-star rating. Most recently in 2015, he became both the Executive Chef and co-owner of 6 Indian eateries in New York City – Chola, Kokum, Chote Nawab, Dhaba, Malai Marke and Haldi. He oversaw the kitchen and menus, creating signature dishes and specials inspired by each venue’s regional focus.
Mathur graduated from culinary school in India in 1983 and is fluent in Hindi, Rajasthani, English, Spanish and German. He is married to highly acclaimed pastry chef Surbhi Sahni and they live in Queens with their daughter, Soumyaa.