Samyukta Nair
Samyukta Nair

Play it again, Sam
We spoke to proud parents Dinesh and Madhu Nair of the Leela Group yesterday, minutes after their daughter Samyukta Nair's restaurant Jamavar London was awarded the culinary world's most awaited honoor, its first Michelin Star. As is known, most restaurateurs spend their lives trying to win a coveted star, and to win one in the first year of a restaurant's opening, that too in London, the Mecca of eating out, is no mean achievement.

Jamavar, which sits on Mount Street in central Mayfair, opened to a packed house and rave critic reviews only a year ago. "All the credit goes to Samyukta, who has a real drive and passion for hospitality, much like her grandfather," said Dinesh, referring to his late father, the iconic Captain Nair.

"No city can match London for the quality of its Indian restaurants. A Michelin Star is awarded to Jamavar London, read the official statement by the reputed guide that keeps chefs awake at night. Meanwhile, Samyukta seems to be taking things in her stride, as in a month or so, she will be all set to launch her second restaurant venture in London, Dabbawalla, a Mumbai rail coach-inspired eatery, which will offer diners home-cooked-styled meals in a train carriage.

"The idea is to capture the mood and flavours of modern-day Mumbai along with the spirit of old Bombay. We also want to highlight the close association between Britain and India, as it was the British who built the railways in the first place," said the rising star in the international restaurant firmament recently.

Suzanne Khan with the children
Suzanne Khan with the children

No reservations
We came across this lovely photo of yummy mummy Suzanne Khan with her sons Hrehaan and Hridaan dressed in chef's aprons. They took advantage of the long weekend and checked themselves in for a cooking class in Bandra along with doting father Hrithik Roshan in tow. "Note to self... #1 must cook more often it's too much fun! #2 must make our boys learn to cook, it will make some girl very happy one day," exclaimed Suzanne.

Hrithik Roshan shared a similar picture
Hrithik Roshan shared a similar picture

Hrithik also shared a similar photo along with his sons, as well as the day's menu. "Garlic chicken pesto, molten chocolate and calzones, the three things they'll never pester me to get again, since now they know how to make it."

To their credit, Suzanne and Hrithik seemed to have handled their separation with maturity, not allowing anything to get in the way of being wonderful parents, and whether it's cooking classes or beach days during a getaway to Dubai, they have always put their children first. Which is exactly how it ought to be.

Yash Birla
Yash Birla

Double celebrations
Industrialist and body-building enthusiast Yash Birla celebrated his birthday last week by flying to the Himalayas for a spiritual retreat with his family. And this week marked double celebrations for the Birla family, as it was announced that Yash's younger son Nirvaan, who heads business development in the family-owned group's education wing, had scored a personal professional achievement.

Nirvaan Birla during signing of the MoU with the government of Uttarakhand
Nirvaan Birla during signing of the MoU with the government of Uttarakhand

"Proud to share that after six months of liasoning and effort, we finally managed to sign an MoU with the government of Uttarakhand, for the teacher training and curriculum implementation of 30 public schools in Uttarakhand state," posted Nirvaan, who seems to have found his passion in India's education sector.

"I believe the future of Indian education will be built on private and public heads working together, with government providing infra, and private parties supplying skill and manpower," he added.

Pramod Kapoor (fourth from right) at The Hague, to promote the book's Dutch edition
Pramod Kapoor (fourth from right) at The Hague, to promote the book's Dutch edition

The unlikely rock star
He seems an unlikely rock star, but Pramod Kapoor, the affable and soft-spoken founder-publisher of Roli Books, appears to be just that with the international recent whistle-stop multi-city book launch of his tome Gandhi: An Illustrated Biography.

To start with, the launch of the Russian edition of the book was held at Yasnaya Polyana, House of Count Leo Tolstoy near Moscow last week, after which his next stop was Paris for the book's French edition. Hosted at the headquarters of the Alliance Française in Paris by Jerome Clement, its international president, soon after, Kapoor was on his way to The Hague, to promote the book's Dutch edition, to coincide with Gandhi's birth anniversary. Following on the heels of a Peace March, the gathering saw Venu Rajamouny, Indian ambassador to Holland, along with several ambassadors, deputy mayors, leaders of opposition, and the head of Tata Europe address the audience. Nice.

Samuel I Newhouse Jr. along with Victoria Newhouse
Samuel I Newhouse Jr. along with Victoria Newhouse

S I Newhouse, RIP
It might seem an eerie coincidence that two iconic American publishers chose the same week to depart to the great newsroom in the sky, but that's where the similarity ends between the late Hugh Hefner and Samuel I Newhouse Jr., chairman of Condé Nast, who passed away at the ripe old age of 89 this Sunday.

Because as much as Playboy was created as a one-man show, built around its publisher's personality, Newhouse's offerings, from Vogue to Vanity Fair to the New Yorker, were independent of their owner's quirks and follies.

In fact, Newhouse had been famous for picking strong, larger than life personalities — Diana Vreeland, Anna Wintour and Tina Brown — to edit his imprints, giving them a free hand to run with their publications.

This photo from May 7, 2007, shows Muccia Prada and S I Newhouse attending The Costume Institute Gala in honour of ‘Poiret: King of Fashion’ at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. Pics/Getty Images
This photo from May 7, 2007, shows Muccia Prada and S I Newhouse attending The Costume Institute Gala in honour of ‘Poiret: King of Fashion’ at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. Pics/Getty Images

That's not where the differences between the two men ended. Those who knew him would speak of Newhouse's unwavering rigour and commitment to excellence, for turning up every morning at his office at the unearthly hour of 4 and reading not only his own publications from cover to cover, but all the dailies too. "There is nobody who ever met him, no matter how early in the morning, when he hadn't already read all the newspapers, all the trades, and didn't have three pages of notes," David O'Brasky, former publisher of Vanity Fair, once recalled.

Si, as he was referred to, had inherited a small clutch of magazines from his father and had assiduously built up the portfolio into hundreds of imprints across the globe, along the way reviving Vanity Fair after more than four decades, to become a vibrant platform for politics, arts and society, and acquiring The New Yorker, and with it, championing long-form journalism at a time when no one thought it would work.

As was to be expected, some of the best tributes were penned by some of his own editors and writers, given that his publishing house boasted such a galaxy of talent. "Si Newhouse wasn't incidentally in the magazine business," said David Remnick, the celebrated editor-in-chief of The New Yorker. "He loved magazines, he loved everything about them — from the conception of new publications to the beauty and rigour of the latest issue — and that passion, that commitment to excellence, free expression, and imagination radiated in every direction."

As we mentioned at the start, two iconic but vastly different American publishers died in the same week. Wonder what they will say to each other when they meet up there. In fact, the subject of that could easily be a future 'Shouts and Murmurs' in The New Yorker itself!