Asma Khan, the first British chef to appear in the popular Netflix series Chef’s Table, will not reopen her celebrated Soho restaurant Darjeeling Express.
As reported by Eater London, Khan is hoping find a bigger London venue for the restaurant and relaunch the concept once the industry is fully back up and running.
Khan told Eater that her plans to move from her 55-cover site in Kingly Court “went pear-shaped” when the coronavirus hit. “It was getting too difficult doing 200 covers in a 55-seat restaurant. When I designed the restaurant, I never visualised we’d do these numbers,” she said.
Born into a royal family in Aligarh in northern India, Khan came to professional cooking later in life, having initially studied constitutional law at Cambridge.
Returning to India to master recipes passed down through her family, in 2012 she launched a supper club in her London home. The concept went permanent in 2017 when Khan opened Darjeeling Express in Kingly Court.
“I have an all-female team, which was deliberate as they are the ones who worked with me at my supper club before I opened a permanent site,” Khan told db in 2018.
According to Eater, one of the main motivations for the move was to give her 25-strong team the space to develop their skills as professional chefs.
Khan told Eater that doesn’t envisage opening the new site in the short-term. She appeared in the sixth series of Chef’s Table, and was the first British chef to be profiled on the show.
“Chef’s Table was a great experience. I did 20 days of filming in London and 20 days in India. Getting to be featured is good for all female chefs,” she said. “It’s important that there is recognition for women chefs. People only hear of a couple of female chefs but this table today is full of them.”