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Chef Atul Kochhar grew up in India, in a food-loving family. It’s a love that has steered his life and career – and something he’s keen to pass on to the next generation. He’s teamed up with the charity Action Against Hunger to help bring an end to child hunger in India and beyond. By making his special recipes, you can do your part too

Growing up in India, I was surrounded by people who cared greatly about food and cooking. My grandad was a baker and my dad started a catering business, so you could say that cooking is in my blood. In Indian families boys are usually pampered but my family was different – I was helping with the cooking and cleaning from a young age.

I have fond memories of spreading out sheets and old newspapers on the foor (our way of laying the table), bringing the food out and everyone gathering round to eat. I even found fun in washing-up. My sister and I would be up until midnight singing, washing dishes and keeping the neighbours awake!

The best part of the day, though, would be when my dad pulled out a big sack of chilled mangoes from the well in the evenings. He was specifc about which variety we should eat and how to eat them, the advice changing from one week to the next, depending on the season. We’d all sit in a circle, throwing the stones and skin in a bin in the centre.

APPETITE FOR LEARNING Atul teaches Amisha (left) and Arjun knife skills

In hindsight, I was learning so much about how to treat ingredients as well as how to eat well for my body. People talk about eating food that’s local and in season, but when I was growing up it was a necessity. Food didn’t travel well so the best produce was what was available there and then.

My involvement with Action Against Hunger (AAH), fundraising through my restaurant, Benares, and creating recipes to raise awareness of the charity, is important to me. When I see the work the charity does and the problems it tackles, it makes me even more aware of how important it is for me to pass on to my own children the values instilled in me during my childhood.

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About delicious. Magazine

Ottolenghi is back! Find his new recipes in our October issue, along with the best things to eat this autumn including Hugh F-W’s cheesy gratin, Atul Kochhar's home cooking and easy one-pot meals. There’s also a Mexican chilli cook-off, proper bao buns and a foolproof beef wellington. On the sweet side, get stuck into John Whaite's rich chocolate cake, a frangipane crumble and our ultimate biscuit collection – better put the kettle on…