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Forum Thread - The Chef - Isidore Coelho

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SteveAUS, on 13/11/2008 02:13am

Hi - does anyone have a copy of this book? If so is it a good read? Reason Im asking is a work colleague here is the authors grand daughter. It came up in an indian food cooking conversation. Apparently her mum (when she was little, 8 or 9 yrs old) helped him proof read the first issue and was given a rupee every time she found a mistake or typo. I was thinking about buying a copy.



Mamta, on 13/11/2008 10:27am

Hello Steve

It is a Goan cook book, looks good. I have a Goan cook book at home (I am in london today, staying with my younger daughter). I got it in India a few years back, it is lying around somewhere. I will look for it and see if it is the same. I have a feeling that the one I have is by a woman, not sure of the name. I don't cook Goan food very often, but should, because I like the few things that I have made/eaten. I don't have any Goan friends to learn from first hand!

I will try to remember to look it up, and get it if I like it, on my next visit to India in a few month's time.


Lorraine, on 22/2/2010 07:34pm

I have a very old copy of The Chef by Isidore Coelho. Unfortunately it is tattered and torn - I am therefore looking for a newer version of the book.

Llamabasil, on 22/3/2014 07:28pm

Hello. The Chef, by Isidore Coelho, is a wildly popular cookbook in the Indian community and overseas. It is especially popular among the Goan and Mangalorean Catholic communities. The author is a Mangalorean, so the recipes are mostly from that region, but Goan cuisine is quite similar to Mangalorean cuisine.

You can purchase this book on Another good URL is

Nisha, on 1/3/2017 03:51pm

Hi all ,

thanks all ,i was checking for this so long its noty available anywhere ...My mom had the book in the Konkani version..i was looking for the english version..

finally found in the

thanks a lot

Nisha, on 1/3/2017 04:04pm

Hi Llamabasil,

thanks a lot ... i tried everywhere for a version of this book.. my mom had an orginal in konkani language but i was looking for the English version

Finally got one in the printasia

monica, on 13/12/2017 08:42am

I want to know if anyone of you have tried the recipes from The chef cookbook. Please give me your views. I will then decide.

Mary, on 21/12/2017 09:36pm

Recipes are very good, spice mixes (example: curry powder) are great. This is NOT a picture book however (have a really OLD copy). So don't expect visuals.

Nikitha, on 27/4/2018 02:52pm

Regarding the book I have a question. It says spice mix in many meat recipes . What is the spice mix here

Mamta, on 29/4/2018 04:48am

I don't have the book, but it may be a Mangalorean Curry Spice Mix called Bafat/Bafad Masala.

Kris, on 9/11/2018 12:29am

I am one of Isidore Coelho's grandchildren and currently working on his biography. Indeed I am privileged to be in possession of his diaries which among other matters enabled me to trace Isidore Coelho's and also my own ancestry to 1750.

Besides compiling and publishing in 1935 his cookery book â€The Chef†which is now regarded as probably the first Indian Cook Book, Isidore also published a series of articles on household affairs, Women’s Domain and other stories in Konkani and in English in the then well known Konkani Dirvem, the Rakno, Mangaluru the Anglo-Lusitano and the Mangalorean, Mumbai.

In 1939 he went on to publish in Konkani his cookery book The Randpi which was greatly valued by the people of the Konkan region. He also published a booklet called “Konkani Bhasha Nagiri Lipi†which is arguably the earliest introduction of the Nagari script to the Konkani language.

Isidore's book The Chef is written in a very basic and simplistic style by an individual who had to give up his education at an early age in order to support his mother and siblings in Mangalore following the death of his father. He developed a love for cooking while serving in The Indian Defence Force during The First World War. Some of the recipes in his book especially the pickles and chutneys were inspired by my angelic grandmother. Anyone using this book would have to use some of their own discretion simply because ingredients tend to differ, as we know for example there is a wide variety of green chillies available today and sizes of potatoes may vary etc. In my teens I have watched my grandpa cook and was amazed to see him use his bare hands as a measure when tossing in the salt, sugar or spices. I guess most experienced chefs would smile and say this comes with a bit of expertise. Sometimes cooking can be a case of trial and error and tastes differ too but in general it is creative and a culinary art. Mistakes will be made and lessons learnt like when I used Castor sugar instead of salt or when I heated up the cold salad! Good luck with the book and eat well for we are what we eat and if you don't believe me speak to your friendly bacteria!!!!

Mamta, on 9/11/2018 07:06am

Thank you Kris for that insight into your grandmothers story, how wonderful :).

I don't have this book. I looked it up for current availability on Amzon/web, it is currently unavailable.

I know what you mean by your grandfather using his hands to throw in ingredients. No one that I know in India measures amounts. I too had to measure spices and all the ingredients for each recipe, when I started writing recipes for this. It was a big task, but I enjoyed it.

Best wishes


Martin, on 8/1/2019 06:48pm

Currently there is availability from swest books through Amazon.



Mamta, on 10/1/2019 03:51pm

Thanks Martin.


Martin, on 29/1/2019 07:45pm


I have a spare copy, and would be happy to sell on to any memeber of the forum. It is a new hardback version. I paid c £18.00.Please let me know if you are interested. Please contact me privately at

Kind Regards,


Mamata Bait, on 8/1/2020 08:15pm

I was trying for this book since last Christmas ..finally my Friend Lyon buys it for me and sends it as gift today :) happies moment for me and this book will be the pride of my kitchen library. I cant thank you enough Lyon Gonsalves!

Lolita dsouza , on 8/6/2020 02:54pm

Can any one plz let me know from where I can get this book..konkani version.

Vernon Da Fonsec, on 14/7/2020 03:32am

Hi, I am one of Isidore Coelho's grandchildren, and would be very happy to know more from Steve about his work colleague whose Mum used to proof read for Grandpa. My late mother's name was Merlyn and you will find a "Merlyn" pudding in the book. Her elder sisters who were my beloved Aunty Edna and Aunty Irene are both deceased. There are some more recipes named after family members, however , my copy of The Chef is in my other apartment and can't be accessed cos of the lockdown here.

I buy my copies of the book from Happy Book Stall, Hill Road , Bandra, Mumbai.

Thank you for all the nice things written about Grandpa....

Mamta, on 15/7/2020 07:43am

Hello Vernon Da Fonsec

I have emailed Steve about your query. Hopefully he will respond to your request soon.

Best wishes


Mamta, on 15/7/2020 10:24am

Sorry, my post to Steve was blocked, so can’t help you!


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