Chef Akhtar Nawab

Akhtar Nawab is the chef and owner of Alta Calidad, Patchwork, and Wayward (forthcoming!) He’s also a founding partner of Hospitality HQ (HHQ), one of the country’s premier food hall management and consulting companies with properties nationwide.

Akhtar’s Story

Chef and CEO, Hospitality HQ

Akhtar Nawab is an acclaimed chef and the founding partner and Co-CEO of Hospitality HQ (HHQ), a creative consulting and management group which offers bespoke solutions for culinary-driven concepts across the country. The son of Indian immigrants, Akhtar grew up in Louisville, Kentucky in the ‘80s, where he took up the bass, and listened to a lot of Rush. When he wasn’t playing the bass, he spent a lot of time in the kitchen with his mother, a native of Lucknow in Northern India, cooking aromatic kebabs, biryani, and korma. A passion for cooking, born in his small linoleum-tiled Kentucky kitchen, led him to an esteemed career at some of the most acclaimed restaurants in the country: La Folie, Bizou, Gramercy Tavern, Craftbar, and Craft. The latter received three stars from The New York Times and won the James Beard Foundation’s “Best New Restaurant” Award during Nawab’s tenure.

Nawab received StarChef’s “Rising Star Chef” award while serving as executive chef of East Village gastropub The E.U., before striking out on his own as chef/partner in Elettaria in 2008. Shortly thereafter, he began a stint of consulting work with Mexican restaurants, notably at the hotspot La Esquina, where he found he had a kinship with its tradition-heavy cooking style.

In 2017, Nawab opened his innovative Mexican restaurant Alta Calidad in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, which earned a Michelin Bib Gourmand rating in 2018, 2019 and 2023 and continues to thrive as a neighborhood mainstay. Akhtar is also chef and owner of HHQ’s Patchwork in Philadelphia and serves as chef partner in Bar Chinois in Washington, DC.

In addition to his work as a chef and restaurateur, Nawab offers restaurant and food hall management consulting services. Nawab has developed a niche practice in the world of food hall development, management, and innovation. Today, he is widely known as owner of the country’s premier food hall management and consulting companies with projects in Wetumpka and Atmore Windcreek Casinos, AL. Silver Spring MD (Solaire Social), Salt Lake City, Utah (The Local Market & Bar), San Diego, CA. (8th Street Market), Omaha, NE (Inner Rail Food Hall), Wilmington, DE (Chancery Market), Giorgio Armani Caffe (Costa Mesa) and Westbrook, ME (Rock Row Foodhall) .

Apart from the restaurant and food hall management work, Nawab has created a meal subscription and delivery business in collaboration with CookUnity. Here he offers, always fresh and never frozen, ready to eat meals serving Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City and their surrounding areas

Nawab has been featured in various publications including Food and Wine, Bon Appetit, USA Today, Eater, and has appeared on NBC’s “TODAY Show,” CBS’s “This Morning Saturday,” PBS’s “Simply Ming,” as well as Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” and as a regular judge on “Beat Bobby Flay.” He has also been featured in the acclaimed cookbook Coco: 10 World- Leading Masters Choose 100 Contemporary Chefs (Phaidon, 2009) and J’aime New York: 150 Culinary Destinations for Food Lovers (Ducasse Books, 2012). In 2020, he released his own cookbook, Good For You: Bold Flavors with Benefits (Chronicle Books, 2020). Good For You embodies Nawab’s passion for healthful, delicious cuisine, showcasing his trusted repertoire of wholesome recipes influenced by international flavors and refined by decades of professional training.

Nawab lives on the Upper West Side with his daughter Ela.

Restaurant and Food Hall Management & Consulting

Akhtar provides creative consulting and management for both food halls and restaurants. With over 25 years in the restaurant industry, Akhtar has developed a keen eye for identifying the opportunities and potential pitfalls for his clients.

With years of experience and a finger that’s constantly on the pulse of new trends, Akhtar is able to help lead establishments with a variety of offerings. He’s able to help new concepts that are fine-tuning their development strategies, established concepts looking to dial in their operations, and any concept that’s looking for improvements with their communications and marketing strategy.

The establishments Akhtar has helped range from fast-casual food halls to four-star fine dining establishments. There’s no concept too small or too large for him and his team to lead it to success.

Good for You

Bold Flavors with Benefits

In his debut cookbook, chef Akhtar Nawab offers his trusted repertoire of nutritious, flavor-packed recipes influenced by decades of experience cooking Mexican, Italian, Indian and New American cuisine. With inspiring stories from his personal and professional journey alongside essential pantry staples, indispensable techniques and exciting ideas for every meal of the day, Good For You: Bold Flavors with Benefits is your ultimate guide to eating well and feeling great.


Order Online

Praise for Good For You

Akhtar Nawab is one of the best chefs in America. His book is full of insanely delicious and ingenious ways to cook food that makes you feel good. We’re lucky to have it.
—DAVID CHANG, chef and founder, Momofuku


In 2017, Nawab opened his innovative Mexican restaurant Alta Calidad in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, which earned a Michelin Bib Gourmand award in 2018 and 2019 and continues to thrive as a neighborhood mainstay.  Then in 2019, Akhtar opened Otra Vez, the sister restaurant to Alta Calidad, in the heart of New Orleans’ South Market district.


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