Celebrity Chef Maneet Chauhan's passion for all things culinary started at an extremely young age. Seemingly born with a ladle in her hand, her culinary "journey" started in her homeland of India, where she graduated at the top of her class at the Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, India's top culinary and hotel management school. After interning at India's finest hotels and kitchens, including names like the Taj Group, Oberoi Hotels and Le Meridian, it was off to the U.S., where she attended The Culinary Institute of America and graduated with high honors, sweeping all awards in her class.
After some valuable fine dining field experience on the East Coast, it was time to conquer Chicago. This task began with her being the only woman to go up against 40 male chefs for an executive chef position. Once again successful, Chef Chauhan was ultimately the opening chef of Vermilion restaurant. As executive chef of Vermilion, she was at the helm of executing the Indian-Latin cuisine developed by Rohini Dey and her kitchen teams in New York and Chicago. With Chef Chauhan at the helm, the restaurant earned many accolades, including Chicago magazine's Best New Restaurant, Esquire's Restaurant of the Month and Wine Enthusiast's Best New Restaurant in the U.S. Vermilion then set its sights on New York City and launched an equally impressive outpost in the heart of Manhattan. Soon after its doors opened, Chef Chauhan was nominated as the Best Import to New York by Time Out magazine.
During her tenure with these landmark restaurants, they received exceptional reviews from Bon Appétit, USA Today, Time, Esquire, Travel & Leisure, Gourmet, Town & Country, Business Week and O, The Oprah Magazine, as well as getting a stunning three-star review from the Chicago Tribune.
After eight years of leading the kitchens of Vermilion in both New York City and Chicago, Chef Chauhan ventured out on her own and founded Indie Culinaire, an avant-garde culinary and hospitality company. In a short period of time, she has established herself as an honorary figure and a leading volunteer for prestigious culinary schools, industry events and premier nonprofit foundations. After being the only Indian female ever to compete on Iron Chef and a fierce competitor on The Next Iron Chef, Chef Chauhan is now a full-time judge on the Food Network hit show Chopped, which has been nominated for a Critic's Choice Award and granted Chef Chauhan the honor of receiving the prestigious James Beard Award of Excellence.
Along with Chopped, Chef Chauhan has established herself as a go-to figure when it comes to Indian cuisine and spices, as evidenced by being invited to teach the multinational audience of ABC's The View how to cook Indian food. Additionally, Chef Chauhan was chosen as the only chef to cook at the first-ever Indiaspora Inaugural Ball, honoring the re-election of President Barack Obama.
A big supporter of culinary education, Chef Chauhan credits her success to the solid culinary foundation she received at the Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, India, and the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park. She was recently honored by an invitation back to the CIA campus as the commencement speaker. She also received recognition of Distinguished Service to the Foodservice and Hospitality Industry as the ambassador of the Culinary Institute of America. She is constantly mentoring new graduates and is involved with the educational arm of the National Restaurant Association's ProStart program, which educates high school students in the areas of hospitality and culinary arts, giving them "real life" skills and encouraging the culinary world as a career.
An active supporter of various charities such as CRY (Child Rights and You) and P.A.V.E. (Partnerships for Action, Voices for Empowerment), ProStart, Chef Chauhan is highly devoted to giving back to the community that has given her so much. Recently she has provided her culinary skills to cook at the prestigious Chef's Garden, Guggenheim Museum, Willie Mae Rock Camp and many more.
Currently in the process of opening a restaurant in Nashville, Tenn., planning a book-signing bus tour across the country for her new book, developing a signature spice line and hard at work on another cookbook, her ongoing research, trials, travels and zest for experimentation keep her at the forefront of cutting-edge cuisine. Her energy and creativity, combined with polished culinary skills and the courage to follow her passion, have proved to be the right ingredients for success.
Chef Chauhan currently resides in New York City with her husband and her daughter.