The Man Behind The Chef: Aktar Islam

The Staff Canteen

In association with


In the build up to The Staff Canteen Live 2017 - supported by Westlands, at Great Hospitality Show 2017, we are taking a closer look at the chefs who will be joining us on stage. 

We dig a little deeper to find out what they are hiding under those chef whites – next up is Aktar Islam, co-owner of Lasan which is also listed in the Sunday Times Top 100 and is often regarded as one of the UK’s best Indian restaurants. Aktar also made it through to the final of the sixth series of BBC2’s Great British Menu.

Aktar Islam rose to prominence in 2009 after his restaurant, Lasan was named Best Local Restaurant by Gordon Ramsay on the Channel 4 series The F Word. He later appeared on BBC2’s Great British Menu when he wowed the judges with his Sea Bass with Battered Soft Shell Crab fish course which got him through to the banquet. As well as being the head chef and co-owner of Lasan, Aktar also runs the Indian restaurant, Raja Monkey, Argentinian restaurant Fiesta Del Asado and is the director of Restaurant Angels, a hospitality consultancy providing support and advice to restaurants.

Aktar Islam
Aktar Islam

What item of food do you hate cooking?

I hate cooking puddings and desserts, anything sweet really. It’s not really my bag because I’ve been sugar free for about three years now! I’ll taste it but it’s not something I will get super excited about.

What food, if any, are you allergic to?

Over the last few years I’ve actually become allergic to crayfish so I usually have a couple of antihistamine tablets before I tuck in to it so I haven’t given up the food I’ve just found ways to deal with it!

>>> Read more in The Man Behind The Chef series here

What’s your favourite ingredient to work with?

At this time of the year I would have to say root vegetables. It’s very much part of Asian cooking and at this time of year it’s all about the different types of root vegetables available.

What’s your guilty pleasure food?

My guilty pleasure used to be KFC but I gave that up a couple of years ago.

What three ingredients would you take with you to a desert island and why?

I would take chilli, lemon for seasoning and a spice called chaat masala - you can put that on anything and it’ll taste lovely.

If you weren’t a chef what would you be?

I wouldn’t mind being a banker, I know nobody likes them but they seem to live an alright life!

What radio station do you listen to in the kitchen?

We don’t listen to any music in the kitchen.

What other kitchen would you most like to work in?

I would love to spend some time at Aliena to see what those guys do.

Traditional cooking methods or modern techniques?

Definitely traditional but I think it’s about modernising traditional cooking methods. Nothing beats the old school way of doing things.

Why did you choose to get involved with TSC Live?

Because I was asked.

>>> The Great Hospitality Show takes place on January 23-25 2017 and you can register now here 

>>> Read more about The Staff Canteen Live here

>>> Read more about The Staff Canteen Live 2017 at the Great Hospitality Show here

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 5th December 2016

The Man Behind The Chef: Aktar Islam