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Participating Chefs

Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor

Sanjeev Kapoor is a chef extraordinaire that has brought the art of Indian cooking to the forefront of the international palette, and continues to forge ahead with groundbreaking ideas and creative ventures.

Already a household name in India as the host of the longest running television show in history, Kahana Kazana, Sanjeev Kapoor is on a mission to give Indian cuisine a worldwide presence, and has consulted as a guest star on Western cooking shows and keynoted several international food festivals. He has also penned countless best-selling cookbooks and even created his own line of Indian condiments, making him a culinary force that is changing and influencing the landscape of Indian cooking all over the world.

Chef Suvir Saran

A world-respected food authority at age 35, Suvir Saran is making great contributions to furthering appreciation of Indian food in America. Most recently, The Culinary Institute of America named him Chairman, Asian Culinary Studies for its World Cuisines Council. He has also been featured in publications like Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, InStyle, and Newsweek. Recently, Suvir has appeared on several TV shows, as well as founding The American Masala Collection of porcelain houseware.

Chef Floyd Cardoz

Floyd Cardoz is the Executive Chef of Tabla, a groundbreaking NYC restaurant serving New Indian cuisine cooked with the sensual flavors and spices of his native land. Floyd opened Tabla in 1998 with famed restaurateur Danny Meyer and Chef Michael Romano of Union Square Café, and with it, discovered an original way to showcase the aromatic flavors of his homeland. Influenced by cooking techniques and formal training from all over Europe, including Switzerland, Italy, and France, Floyd developed a vision for experimenting with Indian cuisine and bringing it to new heights. Subsequently, at the helm of Tabla, Floyd seasoned Western cuisine with Indian spices as well as cooking home-style Indian fare in the restaurant’s Bread Bar, making the restaurant world-famous for its unique tastes and dishes. Floyd was also named by Bon Appetit as one of “The Innovators” in its 2003 Annual Restaurant Edition, cementing his place in the Indian culinary scene in a monumental way.

Chef Jehangir Mehta

Chef Jehangir Mehta opened Graffiti in NYC’s East Village in 2007 after being highly acclaimed at New York City restaurants like Aix, Compass, and Jean-Georges. Mumbai-born Jehangir took an interest in the goings-on of the kitchen from a very early age, and pursued his desire to launch a career in the culinary arts by attending the Culinary Institute of America. When he opened Graffiti, it was quite simply an extension of the man and his mission, and he released his first cookbook “Mantra the Rules of Indulgence” shortly after. Many of his loyal customers and critics alike have said that Jehangir presents food that is nothing short of inspiring. From a 50 square foot kitchen, he produces some of New York’s most exciting dishes, which have been featured in not only traditional food magazines but also Vogue and the New Yorker. Jehangir has also been seen on many national television programs including Martha!, the Food Network, and even Iron Chef America as a contestant against Chef Morimoto in 2009.

Chef Vikas Khanna

Executive Chef Vikas Khanna has gained fame for making it his personal mission to showcase the glory of traditional Indian cuisine to the masses. Whether it is presiding over kitchens at renowned New York restaurants Salaam Bombay or Junoon, or appearing as a guest consultant or judge on Gordon Ramsay’s hit television series, the celebrity chef continually finds ways to embark on new culinary adventures. In his most recent undertaking, Khanna boldly examines the ties between food and spirituality with the film series “Holy Kitchens.” As creator of this unique project, Khanna explores the role of spiritual sustenance by visiting sacred places, and highlights the commonalities and differences between world religions in a way than engenders mutual tolerance and respect between faiths. He is a pioneer of bringing cooking and film together to inspire new thought and dialogue about the fascinating and moving connection between food and spirituality.

Chef Hemant Mathur

Tulsi restaurant’s co-owner and chef, Hemant Mathur, is known as one of the country’s top tandoor masters, and uses heaping bags of local fruits, vegetables and herbs from farmers’ markets to prepare truly authentic-tasting Indian dishes. Formerly of Devi Restaurant in NYC, Chef Mathur came to the United States from his hometown of Jaipur, India, and insists that fresh produce is the key to recapturing the taste of Indian dishes like those from his homeland. His signature style is a passion for the authentic flavors of his youth combined with bringing a new level of sophistication and innovation to Indian food in America. Garnering favorable reviews and attention from such media as The New York Times, New York Magazine, The New Yorker, New York Observer, Time Out New York, and Bon Appétit, Mathur’s former restaurant was awarded a Michelin one-star rating for 2008 and 2007 - the only Michelin-star Indian restaurant in the country.

Chef Maneet Chauhan

Executive Chef Maneet Chauhan at the award-winning Vermilion restaurant got her start as an inquisitive child - posing questions regarding taste, ingredients and flavor. Today, as an inspiration to aspiring culinary talents, and a former contestant on the acclaimed show “The next Iron Chef”, Maneet continues to exude a deep motivation and energy for learning. She uses the cuisines from different countries as inspiration, and by doing so, shows that the cooking cultures of India, Spain, Portugal and Latin America actually share several similar ingredients and spices. As diners at Vermilion can attest to, Chef Chauhan is a master at combining exotic ingredients to produce unique flavors.

We are delighted to announce that Maneet Chauhan, Executive Chef of NYC's Vermilion, will be Co-Hosting the Varli Food Festival NYC 2011 !

Chef Hari Nayak

Hari Nayak is an internationally renowned figure in the Indian culinary scene with several successful ventures as a chef, restaurateur, author, and food service consultant. With a distinct, signature style of cooking and an unwavering commitment to expanding appreciation for Indian food, Chef Hari is striving to pioneer the next generation of Indian cooking with books like "Modern Indian Cooking" and “Spice”, and through appearances on exclusive web TV spots on food portals like With so many ventures under his belt, Hari still finds the greatest joy in the basics. He says, “There is nothing that can compare to the feeling of entertaining and cooking for my family, friends and guests. It brings me such happiness when I serve up food that brings a smile to people’s faces.” To continue spreading the word about Indian cooking around the world, Hari’s next ventures will be opening a few modern Indian restaurants in the Middle East and India in 2011.

Chef Prasad Chirnomula

Indian Master and Executive Chef Prasad Chirnomula, in addition to his duties as owner of Thali restaurants, has created literally dozens of restaurants in the Northeast since his arrival in the United States in 1984. Formally trained in the School of Culinary Arts in Poona, Chef Chirnomula has adopted the mission of changing how America thinks about Indian food and serves as a guide for “India of the Maharajas Gourmet Tours”, a gourmet tour of the Indian subcontinent from a culinary perspective. His commitment to the creation of imaginative dishes based on traditional Indian standards have made him a rising star in the Connecticut restaurant world.

Chef Peter Beck

Peter Beck has been recognized as a true culinary artist, a pioneer of contemporary Indian cuisine in America, and a food force to be reckoned with. Formerly the Executive Chef at Tamarind, hailed as “the finest Indian restaurant to open in New York in almost a decade”, Beck’s original twists on classic Indian fare have won him high praise from the culinary world and a loyal fan base of diners that can’t get enough. Like most chefs, he began cooking at a very early age, and worked his way up through Bombay’s Centaur Hotel, and international gigs in Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, England, and Hong Kong. Beck’s experiences gave him unique ideas for how to integrate ingredients from all over the world into a single recipe, and eventually led to his remarkable reign at Tamarind – today, Beck puts his creative culinary genius to work wherever he goes, and has a self-proclaimed passion for cooking that is evident in every dish he creates.

Chef Walter D’Rozario

Walter D’Rozario, Chef de Cuisine at NYC's Junoon Restaurant, is a native of Calcutta and has traveled the world cooking in exotic locales including Tokyo, The Philippines, and Mauritius. His New York City resume includes heading the impressive kitchens of great restaurants such as the Michelin-starred Devi, Utsav, Bay Leaf and Salaam Bombay. He brings his entire life’s experience to bear at Junoon and has helped craft a menu that represents the best of Indian regional cooking. Chef D'Rozario has also been awarded by the American Heart Association for Healthy Cooking.

Master Chef India Pankaj Bhadouria

Master Chef India Pankaj Bhadouria is the winner of Master Chef India, a reality show that went on to discover the culinary masters in the Indian homes and brought them to limelight. The show hosted by Cine Star Akshay Kumar, had Pankaj emerging as the winner. Pankaj’s courageous pursuit of her passion is truly an inspirational story to all young aspirants. She quit her 16 year old job as a senior English teacher to be a part of the show. She sincerely believes that good food comes from good feelings and cooks for the pleasure of cooking. During the show her confidence and amazing skills made her stand out and she went on to be the first semi-finalist, the first finalist and consequently the first Master Chef of India..

Chef Radhicka Agarwaal

Radhicka Agarwaal proved that dreaming big can pay off. A runner-up on the reality show, MasterChef India, Radhicka dabbled in Event Management and other pursuits before giving MasterChef India a shot. She eventually triumphed over millions of contestants to win the Golden Apron and Chef’s Coat, launching her career as a professional chef.

Chef Mel Oza / Virginia

Mel Oza has been acclaimed for his work as a consultant chef and wine director for restaurants like Copper and Azitra (NC), Lehja (VA), and Chakra (CA). He is also a consultant for The Evolved Curry Studio, guiding restaurants from opening through operations.