Today on the Google home page is a special Doodle, a Google logo, for Sake Dean Mahomed. It is unclear when his birthday is, but he was born sometime during 1759 and lived until his young 90s. Sake Dean Mahomed was an “Anglo-Indian traveller, surgeon and entrepreneur who was one of the most notable early non-European immigrants to the Western World,” Wikipedia says.
A man of many talents, Sake Dean Mahomed was an entrepreneur who made a name for himself by building cultural connections between India and England. On this day in 1794, he became the first Indian author to publish a book in English and later, to open an Indian restaurant in England—ushering in what would become one of Great Britain’s most popular cuisines. Mahomed went on to find success as the “The Shampooing Surgeon of Brighton,” opening a spa in the British seaside town that attracted the rich and royal. In 1810, after moving to London, Mahomed opened the Hindostanee Coffee House, Britain’s first Indian restaurant. The Epicure’s Almanack—an early London restaurant guide—hailed it as a place for nobility to enjoy hookah and Indian dishes of the highest perfection. Nonetheless, Mahomed was forced to close his luxurious restaurant in 1812 and sought to reinvent himself.
Moving his family to the beachside town of Brighton, he opened a spa named Mahomed’s Baths offering luxurious herbal steam baths. His specialty was a combination of a steam bath and an Indian therapeutic massage—a treatment he named “shampooing” inspired by the Hindi word champissage meaning “a head massage.” He also published a book about the therapeutic benefits of the treatment with testimonials from his patients. In 1822, King George IV appointed Mahomed as his personal ‘shampooing surgeon’, which greatly improved his business. A portrait of Mahomed hangs in the Brighton Museum, commemorating this man who helped merge the cultures of his two homelands.
Happy Birthday, Sake Dean Mahomed!
I am not sure if it is Sake Dean Mahomed’s birthday today but Google is wishing him one today.
Forum discussion at Twitter.