Our Diversity Champions

Introduced in 2015, Diversity Champion gives an opportunity for a speaker to discuss their personal journey and involvement in the life of the capital. Conceived as a ’10-minute’ showcase prior to the main speaker, it is an opportunity for the audience to listen to the perspective of one notable individual who represents something of the rich diversity of the London community.

Cyrus Todiwala 

OBE DL
2018 Champion

Dato’ Dr. Kah-Ming Ng

2017 Champion

Haifa Al Kaylani

2016 Champion 

Prem Goyal

OBE JP

2015 Champion

DIVERSITY CHAMPION –  Cyrus Todiwala OBE DL

Chef Patron, Café Spice Namaste and Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen

Cyrus Todiwala’s exceptional career as a chef, entrepreneur, educationist, author and media personality symbolises the power of possibility and the rewards that come to those with a capacity for hard work and imagination. It also shines a light on London’s immense meritocracy.

 Immigrating to London from Bombay with Pervin Todiwala in the early 1990’s with little more than a few suitcases, his culinary gifts and boundless energy ensured that their restaurant, Café Spice Namaste, reshaped Britain’s then limited expectations of Indian cuisine, impressing the food cognoscenti and inspiring generations of Indian chefs. Today it is the longest running Michelin BIB restaurant in the world.

 A pioneer as well as an innovator, Cyrus spearheaded several causes — some when they were yet unpopular — that have since become mainstream: education and training, social responsibility, sustainability, buying British, food waste, the environment and healthy eating amongst them. He has won several environmental awards including the Sustainability Champion award from the London Chamber of Commerce/Corporation of London.

 A Parsee, Cyrus also embodies the community’s ethos of philanthropy, and with Pervin has devoted much of his time and energy to missions they believe in. One of these is Zest Quest Asia, the student chef competition that aims to improve the knowledge and understanding of classical Asian cuisine and its profile as a future career. Zest Quest Asia is now in its fifth year and winners enjoy a weeklong trip to an Asian city. ‘The trips open not just the palates, but the hearts and minds of young people,’ he says.

 A best-selling author, Cyrus has twice been invited to the Blenheim Palace Festival of Literature, Film and Music for which he prepared the inaugural dinner last year. He appears regularly on BBC Saturday Kitchen and the BBC 4 Food Programme, which awarded him the 2014 BBC Food Personality of the Year. He is an Ambassador of The Clink Charity and Patron of the British Lop Society, among others.

 Cyrus has an MBE for his services to education and training and an OBE for services to the catering and hospitality industry. He is a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London and a Founding Member of the Guild of Entrepreneurs. He is a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Cooks. In 2012, Cyrus was invited to cook the very first luncheon for HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee tour.