Maneet Chauhan Bio

Maneet Chauhan, judge on Chopped and Chopped Junior

Photo by: Janet Rhodes ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Janet Rhodes, 2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Celebrity chef Maneet Chauhan's passion for all things culinary started at an extremely young age. Seemingly born with a ladle in her hand, she started her culinary "journey" 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 Meridien, 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 Critics' 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.

She is 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, and 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.

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Ask Chef Marc Murphy where he grew up and he'll fire off a list of cosmopolitan destinations — Milan, Paris, Villefranche, Washington, D.C., Rome and Genoa — "and that's before I turned 12," he’ll explain. This dizzying list of hometowns served as an excellent education in French and Italian cuisine, though as a teenager this was not his first passion. When the reality hit that he didn't have the funds to become a professional racecar driver, Marc followed his brother to the Institute of Culinary Education. After graduation he apprenticed at restaurants in France and Italy before returning to New York, where he landed a job as a line cook at Terrance Brennan's Prix Fixe. He stayed there for almost two years, working his way through every station in the kitchen and forging a professional bond with Brennan’s Sous Chefs Joseph Fortunato and David Pasternak. Eager to return to Europe, Marc flew to Paris and landed a position at the one-star Le Miraville, where he stayed for one-and-a-half years. Afterward, he staged at the famed Louis XV in Monte Carlo, where Executive Chef Alain Ducasse was so impressed with Marc's skills that he personally made arrangements for him to work with Sylvain Portay at Le Cirque once he returned to the States. Marc still considers Portay to be his greatest teacher. "Sylvain was above all concerned with coaxing out the most-vibrant, interesting flavors any ingredient had to offer, yet he insisted on minimal manipulation," he recalls. Following Le Cirque, Fortunato tapped him to work as a sous chef at Layla, Drew Nieporent's Middle Eastern fantasy in Tribeca, where he met consultant Georges Masraff. When Masraff joined forces to open Cellar in the Sky at Windows on the World, he recruited Marc to serve as executive chef. After receiving critical acclaim, including a two-star review from The New York Times, Marc headed uptown to serve as executive chef of La Fourchette, where NYT critic Ruth Reichl awarded him another glowing two-star review, citing his "open desire to transform food [so that] in his hands, even a simple green salad ... looks like a ruffled hat in a painting by Renoir." In March 2004 Marc opened his first solo enterprise with Landmarc [Tribeca], which won rave reviews both for its eclectic French and Italian menu as well as its highly untraditional wine list. Following its success, Marc opened Ditch Plains in the West Village in 2006 serving casual, beach-style cuisine such as lobster rolls, fish tacos and the infamous ditch dog, as well as other comfort food favorites. In 2007 Marc was given the opportunity to open another Landmarc restaurant in the pres­tigious Time Warner Center, where he brought his bistro-style cuisine midtown. In October 2013 Marc opened Kingside at the Viceroy New York hotel on New York's iconic West 57th Street, serving his interpretation of New American cuisine. Marc's restaurants now fall under the Benchmarc Restaurants by Marc Murphy name, where he acts as executive chef and owner. In addition to the restaurants, Marc also heads up the company's catering division, Benchmarc Events by Marc Murphy, where his signature style of accessible contemporary cuisine transcends the boundaries of what is offered in his restaurant locations. Today Marc's involvement in the industry moves beyond the restaurants as well, with a regular role as a judge on Food Network's top-rated hit Chopped as well as appearances on other hit series such as Guy's Grocery Games, Beat Bobby Flay and Worst Cooks in America. Marc also appears on The Rachael Ray Show and The Today Show, among others. He is the president of the Manhattan chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association, a board member of City Harvest, Culintro and Passport NYC at the 92nd Street Y Culinary Camp, as well as a member of the Food + Finance High School's Industry Advisory Board, a member of the Leadership Council for Share our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign and the national spokesperson for Share Our Strength's Dine Out For No Kid Hungry. In 2012 Marc joined the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Culinary Partnership, where he takes part in public diplomacy programs that engage foreign audiences abroad as well as those visiting the United States. Marc's debut cookbook, Season with Authority: Confident Home Cooking, was released by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in April 2015.

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Marcus Samuelsson is an award-winning chef, restaurateur and cookbook author. He appears frequently as a judge on Chopped. Find out more on Food Network.
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