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thomas john
rising stars
September 2002 BOSTON
B i o g r a p h y
The son of an Indian Air Force wing commander-turned- farmer, Thomas grew up infatuated with the food and culinary traditions of his south Indian homeland of Kerala. His mother kept a 2 acre "kitchen garden" next to their house, and his earliest recollection of the kitchen is helping prepare vegetables from this garden for his family's annual Onam feast.

After receiving a bachelor of arts degree in Public Administration from Punjab University, Thomas attended the Institute of Hotel Management in Madras for three years, followed by the Oberoi Culinary School in Delhi.

During those six years, Thomas received classical European training in both cooking and administrative techniques, and was placed in the position of sous chef at The Oberoi, where he remained for the next six years. During his tenure there, he visited many of the top hotels in Southest Asia-including The Regent and The Peninsula in Hong Kong-to study their exacting kitchen standards. He also provided recipes and food styling for the Oberoi's "Food of India" cookbook.

After two years at The Radisson in Delhi, Thomas was hired as Executive Chef of Le Meridien in Pune from its inception in 1998. There, he oversaw the property's four concept restaurants as well as its extensive banquet facilities.

Thomas characterizes his style of cooking "as a harmonious blend of the familiar with the unfamiliar; the delicate with the robust." It combines elements of French and Indian cuisine previously inexperienced in Boston. His menu at Mantra has been lauded in such publications as Esquire, The Robb Report, Details, Town & Country, Travel & Leisure and The Wall Street Journal.

In 2002, Thomas was named one of "America's Best New Chefs" by Food & Wine magazine.