The Best Address

Chef Prasad Chirnomula

With Chef Prasad’s passion for Indian cuisine both critics and guests have grown to count on his consistently delectable and nuanced food. Chef Prasad Chirnomula is an award-winning chef and a two time Honoree of the popular James Beard Foundation. When he moved to the United States in 1986, he had $100 in his pocket. Despite his wealth of experience, his first job was as a busboy at a restaurant in Long Island. His ambition and passion were unstoppable.

Since 90’s Chef Prasad has been known and recognized for his restaurants namely, Bombay Bar & Grill, Tandoori, Thali, Thali Too, Oaxaca Kitchen, Saffron, Chao Chi, India & most recently Chef Prasad in New Canaan CT. Chef Prasad was the winner of the 2011 Elm City Iron Chef competition, was the winner of the ‘tournament of the champions’ and has appeared on the national television show Food Network ‘Chopped’. Chef Prasad owns and operates Chef Prasad in New Canaan and is currently working to launch a Gourmet United Cloud Kitchen to show case his legacy in Easton CT.

 Do you have a favourite time of the year or set of ingredients that you look forward to working with?

My favorite set of ingredients are several imported spices from India and fresh herbs from all over USA and. Spices, not only have flavors and aromas but have several health benefits. Some of the jars full of spices you will always find in my kitchen counter are black pepper, cardamom, caraway seeds, cinnamon, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, nutmeg, star anise, turmeric, cloves, cumin and coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, red dried chilies etc. Herbs you will find are cilantro, mint, basil, bay leaves, chives, dill, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, saffron, thyme etc. I live in Connecticut, though we have four seasons we have shorter growing seasons for fruits and vegetables. If I have to pick a favorite time of the year, I would pick late summer/fall where the local crop availability from the local farmers is maximum such as apples, arugula, asparagus, basil, beets, brussels sprouts, ramps, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, corn, cucumbers etc.

shrikhand with gulab jamun

What would you do if you weren’t a chef?

Because of my love for nature, trails, and travel, I would want to be a professional golfer if I weren’t a chef.

Do your personal preferences influence the menu at all?

Definitely yes, though I look at a clients point of view and the demographics, flavors can be original but the spice levels could be a little less unless it is billed as a hot AND spicy dish. I am from Hyderabad, India and I grew up on multi-cultural food. I especially love my mom’s cooking which is super bold and flavorful. For example; I have my mom’s Andhra Chicken Curry on the menu and it is as popular as the other popular dish Butter Chicken.

tandoori quail

 What do you think is the most over-hyped food trend currently?

Super tall burgers are over-hyped. They are not only hard to eat but also very messy to eat. Similarly overloaded Bloody Mary’s and milkshakes, some operators are throwing in large shrimp to fried chicken, after it is a drink, but you end up dissembling the whole drink. While they both look great on pictures but are simply hard to eat or drink. Truffles to some extents are overrated and over-hyped.


When are you happiest?

Opening any business is not easy especially a restaurant business. I like restaurant inceptions when your ideas and passion come to reality. After all the hard work of market research, picking a location, working with architects and trades, hiring and training to build a team, creating a marketing structure and eventually open for the business makes me happy. It makes me even more happy when I see smiles on clients faces and the media buzzes with great reviews. I am happy in my kitchen. One of my happiest moments was when we received three stars from The New York Times on a review that headlined ‘A Tasty Education of India’. I was also happy when David Rosengarten’s food report called me as “The most exciting Indian chef in America and when James Beard House honored me twice to present dinners at the James Beard House.

shrimp moilee

When you’re not in the kitchen where can you be found?

You will find me in two places : 

  1. a) At my backyard of my house with plenty of food and wine and swimming in our pool with family and friends. I live in a small town in the wooded areas of Redding, CT. We have over 2 acres of fully landscaped property with a salt pool, the house is surrounded with tall trees.
  2. b)   I am a nature lover and a traveler; I love the sport of golf. You will find me on a golf course when I am not in my kitchen.    

WhICH is your favourite place to dine?

My go to place for a quick bite is a place called ‘Colony Grill’ which originated in 1935 in Stamford CT. It is a local pizza restaurant with no menus, and they offer some of the best thin crust pizza. My favorite thing to order there is a thin crust cheese pizza with sausage and pepperoni with a side of stingers and a chilled pint of Guinness.

When I like to for formal and fine dining, I love my friend’s restaurant ‘Millwrights’ in Simsbury CT. It is set on a old mill with beautiful water-walls where the service and food is nothing less than a Michelin rated restaurant. Here my favorite thing is their tasting menus with paired wines.


What’s your favourite takeaway or comfort food?

My comfort food is definitely Indian, especially if my mom makes it. It can be as simple as Dal & Chawal or a chicken or goat curry. My other comfort food is Southern Indian savories such as Dosa, Wada and Idli and the street chaat foods. My favorite takeout food is Thai / Chinese / Indian / Sushi.


What makes the local food scene so exciting?

I am in a small nutmeg state called Connecticut in USA and in the Fairfield County where are many small, beautiful towns. What makes the local food so exciting is the wonderful local chefs who cook their food with passion and have a story behind every dish. Though we are in small towns we have a wide variety of cuisines, what makes the food scene exciting is our clients who are well travelled and well educated in cuisines and cultures. Most of them are professionals who travel to New York City but come home to these towns in Connecticut.

chilli chicken

Which is the dish you’ve created that you are most proud of and why?

My Konkan Crab served with Garlic Naan. It is a delicate dish with lot of flavor and pleases literally everyone. My plates are generally bold in flavor, simpler presentations and clean looking.

You’re having friends over for dinner tonight. What’s on the table?

Probably too much food. I feel every meal should be a banquet. What’s on the table changes with the set of friends coming over. But generally, lots of grilled food because I like outdoors and my patio is equipped with all types of heating elements from flat iron grills to a tandoor to a pizza oven. One thing my friends enjoy is make your own pizza or flatbreads. I will usually have the pizza oven on, I will have the dough, the cheeses and some toppings while I ask my friends to bring their own toppings and they make their own choice of pizza. Of course I will make a pot of DUM BIRYANI for a night cap no matter what food was on the table.

truffle naan

 Name your favourite city that has it all: food, culture, and nightlife.

That is a hard question to answer. From the travels I did,

In India – I like Lucknow, Mumbai and Hyderabad

In Middle East – I like Dubai

In Europe – I like Paris, London & Barcelona

In America – New York & Nashville and L.A / San Francisco

papad with chutneys

Can you tell us more about the cuisine at your restaurants?

I have primarily offered the regional cuisine of India where I ran a company for many years under the trademark of ‘Thali Regional Cuisine of India’. I have offered regional dishes from India. One of my proudest moments of creative style of offering freshly prepared Southern Indian vegetarian cuisine in a stylish open kitchen restaurant on The Yale Campus in New Haven Ct where we fed students, faculty, parents, visitors. The Ambani family were very happy frequent diners while Isha was in college for many years.

Besides cooking regional Indian food, my passion for cooking Oaxacan style of Mexican food grew while I spend some time in Oaxaca Mexico. I ended up opening two restaurants called ‘Oaxaca Kitchen’. Some of the unique dishes that were on our menu that were not in other Indian restaurants were, Konkan Crab, Kori Gassi, My mother’s Andhra Chicken curry, Prawn Balchao, Salli boti, Hyderabadi cuisine including Katchi Biryani, Ghoshtaba, Avial Malabar, Spiced Merlot Duck, Ghari, street foods of India. etc.etc.

Recipe for Konkan Crab

Jumbo lump crab tempered in mustard seeds, green chilies, curry leaves and coconut lemon sauce.

konkan crabs


  • Jumbo Lump Crab                             1/2 lb
  • Butter                                                  2 Tsp
  • Black Mustard Seeds                       ¼ Teaspoon
  • Peeled Chopped Garlic                   2 Cloves
  • Peeled Chopped Ginger                 ½ Tsp.
  • Curry Leaf                                        8 leaves                                   
  • Chopped Serrano Chili             1
  • Medium sized Red Onion              1 (Peeled and finely chopped)
  • Coconut Milk                                     1 Cup
  • Lemon Juice                                   ½ a Lemon
  • Black pepper powder                 To taste
  • Turmeric                                            ¼ Tsp
  • Salt                                                    To taste


  1. Heat a heavy bottomed sauté pan to a smoking point and reduce heat from high to medium.
  2. Add butter to the pan and after 30 seconds quickly add mustard seeds, chopped garlic, ginger, curry leaf, Serrano chili and onions.
  3. Stir for two minutes by increasing to high heat. Add crab, turmeric, salt and pepper and cook for one minute.
  4. Next add the coconut milk and reduce it by further cooking five minutes scrapping all the sides and bottom. Mix in lemon juice, stir and serve hot.
  5. Chef’s Note: Keep a cover ready for the sauté pan. When you add the mustard seeds and all other ingredients to the hot butter you will find the seeds pop out.
  6. You can substitute the Serrano chili with any chili you like. The coconut milk I like is from Thailand with the brand name Chacko. 
  7. Refrigerate the coconut milk before use to keep the milk to a creamy consistency. Best eaten with naan bread or steamed Basmati Rice





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