This resulted from a recent thread I started in the Greater Asia board of CH where I asked fellow CHs on whom they think is the Top Chef for Singapore. Somehow, the discussion veered towards Indian cuisine (I thought Milind Sovani, who runs Song of India, is currently one of the best chefs in Singapore, irregardless of cuisine).
Anyway, I'm now putting forth a possible list of candidates whom I think may be the best chef in India. Being a non-Indian & non-resident, I can only suggest chefs whose cooking I've tried during my business trips to India in the past 7-8 years. I'm eager to hear about others!!
1. Hemant Oberoi, Masala Kraft & Zodiac Grill, Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Mumbai
2. Ananda Solomon, Konkan Cafe, Taj President, Mumbai
3. Imtiaz Qureshi, Dum Pukht ITC Sheraton Maurya Delhi
4. Arvind Saraswat, Taj Group. Oversees Taj Delhi & Taj Bengal in Kolkata.
5. Naren Thimmaiah, Karavalli, Taj Gateway Bangalore
6. Satish Arora, was the youngest chef for Taj Bombay back in 1973 (he was 26 then!). Now Director of Food Production for Taj SATS.
7. Rahul Akerkar, Indigo (Continental), Mumbai - heard that Bill Clinton's dined here as well.
8. Ritu Dalmia, Diva (Italian), Delhi
Based on my personal experience, the chef who gave me the BEST meal in India was Naren Thimmaiah. My meal in Karavalli Bangalore was in 2004, but its flavors & smells had stayed in my memory ever since. Chef Naren was also invited to the 2005 World Gourmet Summit in Singapore.