1 Michelin Star Chefs: Sameer Taneja, executive chef, Benares

The Staff Canteen

Sameer Taneja is the executive chef at one Michelin-starred Benares in Mayfair, London.

Sameer has had many great mentors in the hospitality industry, having trained with the likes of 
Pierre Koffmann, Joel Antunes, Alain Roux and Atul Kochhar.


12A Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, W1J 6BS London

Assistant General Manager: Mukesh Pandey

Wine Buyer: Jeepson Lopes  

Opening hours:
Monday Closed
Tuesday 12–2:30pm & 5:30-10:30pm
Wednesday 12–2:30pm & 5:30-10:30pm
Thursday 12–2:30pm & 5:30-10:30pm
Friday   12–2:30pm & 5:30-10:30pm
Saturday 12–2:30pm & 5:30-10:30pm
Sunday  Closed 

Website and reservations:


Telephone: 0207629 8886

Twitter: @Benaresofficial

Instagram: @benaresofficial

Facebook: @BenaresRestaurant


Originally from Dehli in India, Sameer obtained a degree in hotel management at Mangalore University in Karnataka before taking on his first role as a kitchen commis at 5-star Jaipur hotel, The Oberoi Rajvilas.

Three years later, he moved to the UK and secured a job at One O One Restaurant, the seafood restaurant then located inside The Park Tower Hotel in Knightsbrige. After almost six years, Sameer had climbed the ranks to the position of acting head chef under chef Pascal Proyart. 

Next, the chef moved to three Michelin-starred Bray restaurant, The Waterside Inn, where he held the position of saucier for eleven months under chef Alain Roux.

Then, the chef was offered a sous-chef job at Brasserie Joël, Park Plaza Westminster Bridge in London, and a year later he was offered the same role at Koffmann's at The Berkeley. He stayed there for a year before moving to Benares, where he led the team and retained the restaurant's star for almost four years.

In 2016, Sameer helped launch a new Indian restaurant on Shaftesbury Avenue in Soho called Talli Joe, where he stayed for two years. Despite opening to critical acclaim, Talli Joe closed in 2019. 

Sameer took this opportunity to become a consultant at Gourmand Hospitality, and returned to work at Benares in 2019.

He took over from chef Brinder Narula, who himself took the reins after chef patron Atul Kochhar parted ways with the restaurant in 2018 after posting a series of Tweets deemed to be anti-islamic. The restaurant, which had held a Michelin star since 2007, lost it when Atul Kochhar left, and earned it once more in the 2021 Michelin Guide for Great Britain and Ireland.

What the guides say...


AA Restaurant Guide



Located on London's Berkeley Street in the West End and named after the city of two thousand temples on the Ganges river in Uttar Pradesh, Benares has been a spearhead for Indian fine-dining since Atul Kochhar opened it in 2003. 

The interior scheme is minimal in colour in both the restaurant and lounge bar, with aptly-placed wall-mounted mood lighting.

Dishes are created by Sameer and his team using past experiences, travel and spices. By all accounts, the results are both innovative and respectful of tradition.  

Samosa Ragda Tartlet: 
Crushed warm Potato on Carom Seed Tartlet

Michelin says the food at Benares "shows confidence, freshness and vitality," noting that "the star ingredient of each dish is of exemplary quality." 

The guide singles out the three following dishes as the chef's specialities: hand-dived Scottish scallop, coconut curry and Malabar paratha; Garam masala spiced fillet of muntjac, plantain chips and buttered pao; bhapa doi, raspberry and passion fruit.

Guests can choose between à la carte, a tasting menu for just under £100 a head, or a two or three course set menu for £29-£35, all with optional wine flights.

Described in a review by Andy Hayler last year as "up there with the very best Indian food in the capital," Sameer's food is said to show "considerable kitchen skills in some unusual and really successful dishes."

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 20th May 2021

1 Michelin Star Chefs: Sameer Taneja, executive chef, Benares