A talented and dedicated team of chefs and food researchers who live by the principles of creativity, originality and quality.
It was way back in 1995 that Michael Swamy set out to be a chef. His inner desire to document the many varieties of culinary stories and cuisines led him on a journey to first establish his credentials as a chef and as a food personality. CottageChef Culinaire™ grew then from his humble cottage which was home to all… The place where he set off on his first culinary venture in the early 90’s to launch his small catering company. His team of merry friends soon became co-founders in this endeavour of visualizing and creating the brand Michael Swamy and CottageChef Culinaire™. The brand eventually evolved from food styling to writing, to setting up restaurants and now a new vertical – that of creating food videos and digital content. The coming of full circle to a food media company has taken many years in the making. As a brand CottageChef Culinaire™ and Michael Swamy are synonymous with excellence and delivering what is promised. The brand has been associated with major international corporations, publishing houses and channels in its work and promises to keep on delivering the best of the best.
Having been exposed to the myriad arts of cooking, photography and writing from a very young age, Michael Swamy goes beyond being just a chef. A graduate of the prestigious Cordon Bleu Culinary School, London, Michael has done his specialization in Bakery and Patisserie. He has trained under and worked with several Michelin Chefs in the UK who observed his work closely and encouraged him to enter the world of Food Media. His mother having been a successful documentary film-maker, Michael has also closely studied and handled various aspects of film-making.
This experience coupled with his culinary expertise has enabled Michael to take Food Styling & Photography in India to a new level of refinement and global appeal. His own cooking style has further evolved into Progressive Indian cuisine – bringing together the best of classic French culinary techniques and traditional Indian flavours. As a food writer, he is also the author of “The East Indian Kitchen” which won the Gourmand Award 2011-12 in the Best Indian Cookbook (Technical) category. He has authored the “Easy Guide to Pairing Indian Food and Wine” published by Om Books. His latest book “Comfort Food” co-authored with Mugdha Savkar and paired with Cafe Delhi Heights is a success.
Michael was Corporate Chef at The Bowl House which has 5 stand alone restaurants. He has set up Food Arena in Pune. He has also been a Chef and Menu Planner for Kuwait Airways and has worked at The Bombay Brasserie in London, a Taj Property. He also set up the menu and operations of “Peppermill Bistro” in Bangalore, Food Arena in Pune and HoppingChef.
As a food stylist, he has worked with several leading publishing houses like Om Books International, Bloomsbury India, Westland and Penguin India. He has also been featured on Zee Marathi’s popular food show “Aamhi Saare Khavaiyye” and Australian Broadcast Channel. His in-depth culinary knowledge combined with his understanding of photography makes Michael the first choice as a Food Consultant for TV shows and he has successfully handled food shows on TLC, Star Plus, Sony television and Fox Life. He has also directed and handled the food aspects of a video series called “Vikas@Home”.
Michael also has his own food channel on YouTube called “CottageChef Culinaire” which features recipes, ingredient trails, cookbook reviews, hotel reviews and much more.
As a food writer, Michael has written for the Lifestyle section of Yahoo! India and iDiva.com. He has contributed to Jetwings & Jetlite (Jet Airways In-flight Magazine), Liquid Magazine (Spenta), Asian Photography, Burrp and several travel books on health, food & drink, travel (local, national & international). His work has also been featured in the internationally-acclaimed Huffington Post and several leading magazines.
Michael has done national workshops with renowned luxury properties like the Westin, JW Marriott, Starwoods properties and Jim’s Jungle Retreat in Corbett. He has also recently done a high end dinner in Palm Beach, Florida when he was invited by the Palm Beach India Association.
On completing her studies in Hotel Management from the Naval Institute of Technology, Mugdha decided to do something different. Instead of going down the usual path of taking up a job in a renowned hotel, she joined Michael Swamy as an assistant food stylist. Her food journey has taken her from styling for several large food corporations to styling for many award-winning books. Her earlier training has been done at prestigious establishments like the Oberois and the Leelas giving her a first hand experience of the hardcore hotel industry. She has also done her studies in travel and tourism which has been a major asset in her research work.
Thanks to a one year stint setting up the Bharat Petroleum “Ghar Dhabas” along the highways of India and her love for tourism she amassed a wealth of culinary knowledge. Her keen sense of research led her to work with several of India’s leading publishing houses such as Om Books International, Penguin, Westland and Bloomsbury to name a few.
Her writing spans almost a decade – her first being a weekend column on exotic food for a regional newspaper. Since then, she has been co-writing for Michael Swamy on his travels for Yahoo and for her own section in Women’s Planet. She also handles cookbook edits and research for several established authors.
Apart from her work with BPCL, she has also done consultancy for brands like The Bowl House, Peppermill Bistro, Food Arena and more.
She has been a major part on the food team for television shows like MasterChef India 1 & 2, Ravinder’s Kitchen and Stay Home Chef with Rishi Desai (on TLC) and Fox Traveller’s Twist of Taste “Coastal Curries” (Season 3). She assists and directs in-house productions for brands like Whirlpool, Cambay Prawns, Kellogg’s and the travel food videos for Team Michael. She is now also full time on the panel of “CottageChef Culinaire”, Team Michael’s very own YouTube channel.
Mugdha is also a guest lecturer at the prestigious WelcomGroup School of Hotel Administration (Manipal), where she spends a week training the students on the nuances of food styling and videography.
Though having done her Masters in Numismatics & Archaeology from the Mumbai University, Mrunal has always held a keen interest in food. This love for food coupled with a natural propensity for deep research makes Mrunal a valuable addition to the team for book and article projects.
She not only researches the historical elements of recipes, cuisines and techniques but also contributes invaluably by way of text inputs on several books and editing of articles – some of them written for well-known chefs and food personalities. In his space, she has worked with leading publishing houses such as Om Books International, Penguin India, Wisdom Tree and Roli Books.
Her creative talent and understanding of colours and textures also lends itself to the initial conceptualizing, designing and layout for several print projects.
Mrunal’s interest in photography and love for documentaries, led her to learning photography, videography and also video editing… skills which she applies to the videos created for CottageChefCulinaire – videos which stand out for their quality.