Case Study: Atul Kochhar

Bringing Atul’s extraordinary culinary success to life with purposeful branding.

With so many restaurants out there, it’s vital to have a strong and well-crafted visual identity and marketing strategy, especially in the crowded space that is Indian fine dining.

Our business relationship with Indian-born chef Atul Kochhar is a long one – 21 years and counting – and we’re very proud of what we have achieved with him. Creative director Vaishali Shah explains how Creative ID made a difference for this pioneering restaurateur.

Michelin star chef Atul Kochhar

Creative ID has been bringing the essence of Atul’s magical cooking to life since 2000 – just before he was awarded his Michelin star. Atul was one of the first two Indian chefs to receive this prestigious badge of honour, awarded in London in 2001 whilst at Tamarind. He’s renowned for changing the way people perceive and experience Indian cooking and we’ve loved seeing his business grow over the last two decades.

Taking inspiration from his native India, Atul’s award-winning cooking is a unique melting pot of traditional culinary techniques: the very best spices and ingredients from India combined with the best of British. And it’s this fusion of the exotic with modern cuisine that has inspired the work we’ve delivered over the years.

We were first approached to create menus for Tamarind in Mayfair back in 2000. The brief was to create bold, professionally designed printed menus to enhance the dining experience and truly reflect the restaurant’s ethos.

Since then, our work has expanded to include branding and visual identity for a number of Atul’s ventures, including Benares in Mayfair (2002) and Vaasu in Marlow (2020) to name a few. We’re currently working on branding for his upcoming restaurant Riwaz.

Vaasu logo creation
Logos produced for Atul Kochhar

The results

The logo we created for Vaasu has an important and personal significance for Atul as it has his name on it. Creative ID was tasked with creating a strong visual identity that would not only be longlasting but would help the restaurant stand out in a crowded marketplace.

We set out to capture the true essence of the venue, the cuisine and the flavours it celebrates. The client was delighted with the result, and so are we.

Perhaps most importantly, we were careful to incorporate the look and feel of the interiors when designing the logo to ensure it remained in harmony with the overall concept, something that we do with all our projects. Creative ID prides itself on creating designs that sit well in the context in which they appear, not just in isolation.

Working with Vaishali and Creative ID has been a real pleasure. Time and time again, they have shown a true understanding of what my restaurants stand for, cleverly capturing and showcasing the ethos behind our company and goals. They have consistently combined creativity, professionalism and hard work with great effect, producing stunning results worthy of our much-loved restaurants

Atul Kochhar

Our creative magic

We’ve sprinkled our creative magic across many aspects of Atul’s restaurant brands, with our designs being used online, in print and on-site. We’ve created brand manuals, logos, menus, invitation cards for private events, greeting cards, goody bags and more. It’s been the most incredible journey.

Our work even included a fabulous collaboration called Creative ID for Benares: co-branded products that were used as complimentary gifts and as centrepieces in the restaurants. One year, we created handcrafted cards decorated with exotic-coloured spices and chillies, to conjure up the piquant, spiced flavours which are an essential part of Benares cooking.

Creative ID also created Atul’s own logo and identity, inspired by the unique spices and flavours of India. This has been used on his website, chef whites and on all his takeaway packaging.

Personally, what I’m most proud of is the longevity of our business relationship. Not many marketing and design agencies can claim to have such longstanding clients; we’ve become genuine friends along the way. Indeed, last March, just as the first lockdown was announced, Atul asked me to mentor his teenage son, who has shown a keen interest in graphic design. I sent him various projects to complete and then reviewed his work and gave suggestions.

And it was Atul who introduced us to the Find Your Feet (FYF) charity (where he used to be a patron), which we subsequently supported as a business for 10 years – both financially and doing design and marketing work on a pro bono basis. Charitable work has always been a fundamental backbone of my business – so thank you Atul for giving us the opportunity to truly make a difference, not just commercially but philanthropically too. It’s been a fruitful two decades and I look forward to the adventure continuing.

Do you have a restaurant business and are you wondering how to emerge from lockdown? Find out how Creative ID can help.