The 2022 Cannes Film Festival kicked off on May 17th, with filmmakers, actors, and celebrities from all over the world making an appearance. Being such a prestigious festival, it is of utmost importance that the food is top-tier. Guests were treated to an unforgettable formal dinner, hosted by Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Singh Thakur, and executed by one of India’s brightest culinary minds, Chef Manu Chandra.

After walking the red carpet, guests had an exquisite dinner to look forward to — ‘bringing together a little bit of France, with a little bit of Rajasthan’ in Chandra’s words. The dinner was held at the luxurious Le Gray d’Albion — one of Cannes’ greatest private seaside hotels — and Chandra’s list of guests, which featured A.R. Rahman, R. Madhavan, Pooja Hegde and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, were treated to expertly prepared courses of laal maas, pyaaz kachori, and gatte ki sabzi, along with a few Gujarati preparations like kichdi and kadhi.

The event also marked one of Chandra’s earliest successes for Single Thread Caterers — the chef’s new bespoke catering company.

Scaling India’s Culinary Ladder

Manu Chandra Childhood

Manu Chandra didn’t really set out to capture the hearts and stomachs of the elite overnight, though. Speaking to The Hindu’s Surya Praphulla Kumar, he once explained his early experiments with the culinary arts — playing a game with his family cook. As a child, he would try to guess what was being prepared for lunch, just by taking in the heady fumes that wafted through his childhood home in Delhi’s Asian Games Village Complex.

Most of the time, Chandra’s predictions were right. By the age of 12, he was already handling the kitchen. After creating his very own fusion cuisine book from scratch — recipes, drafts, photographs, et al — Chandra graduated from St. Stephen’s in Delhi and enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. 

He would spend the next few years painstakingly perfecting his techniques under the city’s greatest head chefs, eventually graduating with top honors and the Sea Food Masters Award for the National Recipe Competition 2002 – two accolades that got him an opportunity with Michelin starred Chef Eyvind Hellstrom at Bagatelle, the only Norwegian restaurant to have featured in the legendary Michelin guide.

In the two decades since, Chandra has developed something of a restaurateur streak; the most notable being presiding over the award-winning cuisine at Bangalore’s Olive Beach for over 17 years. For Chandra, this experience equipped him with great insight into India’s haute cuisine scene and he even wrote an emotional goodbye to the restaurant when he resigned in August 2021:

With further legacies at the popular Toast & Tonic and Fatty Bao establishments, we’re absolutely thrilled to see Chandra take on new challenges and delight more taste buds the world over.

(Featured Image Credits: @manuchandra/Instagram)