Deen Mahomed (né Mahomet)(1759-1851), Shampooing surgeon and restaurateur
Sitter in 2 portraits
Born into the Indian 'Nai' (barbers) caste, Mahomed served in the East India Company Army before emigrating to Ireland. He was the first Indian to publish a book in English with The Travels of Dean Mahomet, an autobiography. He converted from Islam to Anglicanism to marry Jane Daly because laws at the time prohibited Protestants marrying non-Protestants. Moving to London, he introduced 'Champi' head massage, practised by barbers in India, to Sir Basil Cochrane's new vapour bath at Portman Square. Eager to start his own business, he established Britain's first Indian restaurant in 1810. The 'Hindoostane Coffee House' was well received but financial struggles forced its closure by 1812. In a strategic move to Brighton, he established a medical practice popularising 'Champi' by promoting its health benefits to the British public. His services were so highly regarded that he was appointed 'Shampooing Surgeon' to George IV and William IV.