When we meet Suresh KC Chhetri, he is dressed in a striking blue suit. The quality is exquisite, much like the food and service he provides at his two award-winning restaurants in the heart of Leicestershire…

Avatar Dining (Market Harborough) was named ‘Best Fine Dining Restaurant’ at the 2022 and 2023 Leicestershire Curry Awards, while its sister restaurant in Lutterworth won the 2023 ‘Best New Restaurant’ category for Leicestershire. Taking home not one – but two trophies was a moment of ‘immense joy’ for Suresh and his team “the best thing that’s ever happened,” he says with a smile.

But success is not something which came easy for the sharp-suited businessman. It was never handed to him on a plate, and he wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He grew up in Nepal – the oldest of four boys, and although the family weren’t ‘poor,’ there wasn’t a lot of money to go around whilst he was growing up.

“My dad was in the military. He passed away in 2019 and was the only person in the family who was bringing an income. When only one person is bringing the money home, and they’re looking after 6-7 people, it’s not enough. There’s always a shortage of something,” he explained.

“It was not poverty, but we struggled. We were comfortable – we had land and farm, but we didn’t have cash capital in our hands…”

Suresh says that this background, together with his father’s influence gave him the drive to move to the UK and achieve the success he has today.

“If I had a lot of money growing up, I don’t think I’d be here doing what I’m doing,” he revealed.

“I understand the value of money. I always look up to my dad and how hardworking he was. Coming from the military, he was very disciplined – neat, clean, tidy. When he was home, he would never just sit there and relax. He would always be taking care of jobs and keeping busy.

“I think 90 per cent of the way I am, has come from him. I’m following his path…”

After finished his school days, Suresh dreamed of being a successful restaurant owner. He left Nepal for the UK in order to achieve this ambition, and arrived in 2002, eager to cease new opportunities and a better way of life. However, when he first came to the country, Suresh struggled for around ten years, working at various restaurants in Kent and London; “long hours, low wages and no rest,” he recalls.

While he was working however, he was always learning and taking strong responsibility – making notes and preparing for the day when he’d finally own his own restaurant.

“When someone was garnishing the plates, I’d be asking where the sauces came from and how they were made, and when the food was served, I’d be watching closely to see how they were doing it.

“I was always curious,” he revealed. “Everywhere I worked, I was always learning and they always said I had great leadership, so ‘please go out and take it.’”

Photo Credit: Pukaar News

Suresh moved to Market Harborough in 2015 and took over a restaurant which was already established by his family friend. However, he renamed it ‘Avatar Dining’.

One of the key ingredients to the restaurants success, is the exceptional members of staff, he says.

Suresh believed in nurturing talent from within the team and encouraged creativity and a passion for food. This approach led to a dedicated, motivated team, which treats the restaurant as more than just a workplace. The combination of outstanding food, welcoming ambiance and attentive staff made it an instant hit.

In Hindu Sanskrit, Avatar means ‘reborn’; ‘which is something extraordinary – something new,’ explains Suresh. It’s a fitting name, as he and his team are always trying to improve and bring something new to the dining experience.

“Cooking is a kind of art,” he says. “It’s not just about having nice food, it’s the look of it as well as how you present it. I’m always wondering how to make it better in an artistic way. Every day I’m looking and learning and finding those kind of techniques and arts which will help us stand out and keep customers coming back. People always want something new…

“Not right now, but in the future, that is my dream,” he said. “I think we need that kind of restaurant here. At the moment, Avatar Dining is my bread and butter – my pride. “Asked to reflect on his success, Suresh said that his younger self would be very proud of what he’s doing today.

“The best part about running a restaurant is the satisfaction,” he added. “If the customer is happy, I’m happy. If there are any issues, we need to improve it.”

Following the success of his first restaurant, Suresh and his team open another one in November 2022. Avatar Dining Lutterworth, is currently going from strength to strength. 95 per cent of customers give really good feedback, he says. However, Suresh’s ultimate ambition is to open a Michelin star restaurant in Leicestershire.

“It makes me happy and proud to be looking after my family and other families, as well as my team. I’m very grateful,” he said. “A few families work together at both of the businesses and those businesses look after everyone.”

Supporting charity’s is also important to Suresh, and he recently donated over £3,000 to Manavsewa Ashram Nepal (Human Service Ashram).

In the past he organised charity dinners at his restaurants in order to help charities like the ‘New Futures Nepal,’ and for people whose lives were ripped apart by the country’s devastating earthquake back in 2015.

The big hearted businessman also sponsors local clubs (football, golf, cricket, and a radio).

Friends and family are incredibly important to the father-of-two, who says they are a big part of his restaurant running success.

“It’s very hard work and the hours are unsociable. My wife is at home looking after two young children, and I’m at the restaurant looking after the customers. However, we make time to be together and we make it work,” he revealed.

“No matter how much money you make, or where you invest, family is very important. My Mum is very happy with what I’m doing, and although dad is no longer with us, I hope my father is looking down and is proud – as proud of me as I was to be his son.”