July 29, 2019
He hosted his own TV-show with more than 1000 episodes, he cooked for politicians as well as for show stars and he advised restaurant founders all over the world. Recently, Anil Kumar and his family moved from India to Germany, because his son is studying at Jacobs University Bremen. Now Anil Kumar caters for his son on campus – as head chef on behalf of the service provider “Apetito”.
“No more journeys, no more TV-shows and no more Twitter: Recently, I turned 50 and my family and I wanted to be closer together again and live a quieter life.” This is how Anil Kumar explains his decision to move to Bremen. “My daughter wants to study here as well, my wife and I are learning German, we live a perfectly normal life.” According to Jens V. Dünnbier, member of the Management Board, Kumar is “a stroke of luck” for Jacobs University. “Anil Kumar is not only an excellent cook, he also speaks several languages. He is able to communicate with many students in their mother tongues. That is great!”
“Tasty Travels – A Journey Through Cuisines” was the name of Kumar’s TV-show, which was shown in the Arab region. In this show he cooked regional dishes with locals, it led him to Norway, Vietnam and the Netherlands. Kumar grew up in Southern India. In the early stages of his career he worked in different hotels and on cruise ships. “The cruise ships accommodated more than 3000 passengers, who wanted to eat seven times per day”, Kumar says and laughs. “But it was great. I was young, I wanted to see the world and learn.”
And he did see the world: Anil Kumar worked in six countries. He knows the Arabic, the Mediterranean and different Asian cuisines. His culinary journey even led him on board of VIP-flights, where he worked as chef for the then Prime Minister of India A. B. Vajpayee. He cooked for Paris Hilton as well as for Eddy Murphey. Kumar ran his own restaurant and advised prospective founders on the realization of their restaurant projects.
He did not plan to come to Jacobs University, where he prepares meals for about 1400 students, including his son. “It was a coincidence. As fate would have it, an acquaintance told me about the job offer.” His son is studying Computer Science in his second year, he lives on campus and meets his family on the weekends.
There are four college-serveries on campus and Kumar is in charge of all of them. “I am happy to use my experience to benefit the students”, he says. Since they are coming from more than 100 countries, a mixture from different international cuisines is prepared for them, German dishes are cooked, as well. On a regular basis, fresh regional products are served, not long ago a fish week was organized in cooperation with “Deutsche See”. During this week, fresh fish, such as pollack, redfish and plaice, was served on campus on a daily basis.
Although Kumar has been living in Bremen for only a couple of months, he already speaks German well. This is due to the German television, which he is watching two hours per day and his colleagues, with whom he speaks German. Kumar lives very close to Jacobs University and he likes to go shopping with his wife. At home, cooking is very important to the family. They prepare a lot of vegetable dishes as well as German food like fried potatoes with bacon and asparagus. “To understand a culture, you need to try all regional products.”
His family enjoys living in Bremen. “I am”, Kumar concludes, “in the right place.”
This text is part of the series "Faces of Jacobs", in which Jacobs University introduces students, alumni, professors and staff. Further episodes can be found at www.jacobs-university.de/faces/de
Melisa Berktas | Corporate Communications & Public Relations
m.berktas [at] jacobs-university.de | Tel.: +49 421 200-4135