My wife was not amused, says viral star chef

Pic: Rakesh Nair

A Croydon man who starred in a Youtube video seen by 300,000 people told EastLondonLines how his wife initially failed to see the joke.Rakesh Nair was taking a late train home from work three years ago, absorbed in his book, when a woman he didn’t know at all began snuggling up to him in her sleep.

Nair, who is head chef at the Cinnamon Club restaurant in Westminster, explained:  “I was living in Willesden then, and I used to take the Jubilee line from Westminster.”

“I didn’t think very much of it at that time, because you normally see those things if you’re travelling quite late at night – people lying down, or sleeping on the train and getting drunk and throwing up at and all those things.”

But when the wife of a colleague called him last week to tell him he was in the Evening Standard, the father of one didn’t remember the incident.

“At first I had no idea what it could be, I thought to myself, have I done anything embarrassing lately? I thought the worst – I thought it must be one of the occasions when maybe I got too drunk and I did something really stupid!

The old video had been uploaded by one of the girl’s friends on August 14, and quickly gained hundreds of thousands of hits.

When Nair saw it, he immediately phoned his wife, Latha, at their home near East Croydon station (“we’re quite happy living there”) and asked her to check the internet for his name.

But Mrs. Nair, who met her husband when his parents saw her parents’ ‘groom wanted’ advert on an Indian matrimonial website, was initially suspicious when she saw the video.

Nair said: “She had a funny look on her face. She said, who was that? Is she a colleague? It took some time to convince her actually that it was nobody I knew – I had to prove my innocence! Finally she was able to see the funny side.”

The couple moved from India to London seven years ago when a friend tipped Rakesh off about the job at the Club. Nair had been keen on cooking since he was a child, but “lost his way” until stories from friends taking a hotel management course rekindled his interest.

“Even when I was a kid, I used to spend most of my time in the kitchen with my mum, trying out recipes that came in magazines. I thought, if I didn’t go for it then, I never would.”

Reflecting on his sudden and no-doubt brief celebrity, Nair said it had brought little extra business to the restaurant – only phone calls from the press. “Most of our clients are not the sort of people who go searching through Youtube.”

“You never think of these things when they happen – but it just takes one person to post that video on the website!”

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