Fine-dining Indian restaurant Benares in London's Mayfair has appointed Harsh Joshi as its new general manager, marking his return to the restaurant after 13 years.
The role had until recently been covered by assistant general managers Mukesh Panday and Jeepson Lopes and operations director Robert Walters.
While the restaurant is closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, Joshi is spearheading its new delivery service, Benares@Home, and co-ordinating the delivery of hundreds of hot meals every week to the NHS.
When the restaurant reopens, Joshi will be responsible for the 65-strong team and all aspects of the restaurant and bar, including events in the four private dining rooms, and working closely with executive chef Sameer Taneja on menu development.
He first worked at Benares in 2003 as restaurant manager, rising to deputy general manager before leaving in 2007 to join the Ritz London as private dining manager. Following this, he worked as operations manager at the JW Marriot Marquis hotel in Dubai.
In 2017, he returned to London and joined the Cinnamon Collection and launched Cinnamon Kitchen Battersea before rejoining the team at Benares.
Joshi said: "I am thrilled to be returning to Benares after all these years and honoured to lead such an amazing team. Although the restaurant is currently closed due to the Covid-19 crisis, we have managed to adapt our business model with Benares@Home, delivering everything from samosas to biryanis seven days a week.
"We are also regularly donating hot meals to NHS staff working in hospitals and clinics in our local area, to thank them for their hard work on the frontline. The delivery service was a challenge at first, but customer interest has been very strong and orders are coming through at an encouraging rate."
Walters said: "We are delighted to welcome Harsh back to our Benares family. His extensive experience in some of the city's most prolific restaurants and hotels will bring fresh perspective and expertise. He is already proving invaluable in supporting us in our efforts to feed as many NHS workers as possible, whilst helping us pivot the business with our new home delivery service Benares@Home."