Last Friday, we had the privilege of witnessing a renowned chef at MU. The University of Missouri-Columbia Campus Dining Services hosted chef, judge, author, and educator Maneet Chauhan for a cooking demo and Q&A. We tasted the delicious cooking of Chopped judge, Chauhan, and got the inside scoop on the juicy details of what goes on behind the scenes of the hit show Chopped.
Chef Maneet Chauhan graduated from India’s top hotel management and culinary school program at Maniple University; the Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, According to her Food Network Biography. Upon graduation, she interned at various prestigious restaurants and hotels around India. Her journey was just blossoming as Chef Chauhan traveled to the U.S. She furthered her education, where she graduated from The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park.
For the next few years, she traveled throughout the U.S. working as a chef and subsequently became an integral part of restaurant, Vermilion as Executive Chef. During her time working at Vermilion, among a handful of other renowned restaurants the reviews came flowing in. Travel & Leisure, Esquire, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, Time, Gourmet, Town & Country, Bon Appétit just to name a few, according to her Food Network Biography.
Chef Chauhan’s passion grew and her wide range of accomplishments led to the opening of her own hospitality company, Indie Culinaire. She became an integral part of volunteer programs at various highly acclaimed industry events, culinary schools and nonprofit organizations. She is very involved and supportive of culinary education and dedicates some of her time to give back-just as she came to Mizzou for the event this past week. Chauhan dedicates her success to the experiences she had throughout her culinary education. Chauhan recently returned to be the commencement speaker for the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park from where she, herself graduated. She made history on television when she became the only Indian woman to compete in Iron Chef America, bringing her into fame on Food Network. She is now a judge for the hit Food Network show, Chopped and is working with a couple of restaurants just down the interstate from us in Nashville, Tenn.On Friday, The University of Missouri hosted chef Chauhan in the Sabai test kitchen of Johnston Hall. There, she did a cooking demo of quinoa cakes topped with an Indian spiced chutney and fresh mango salsa.
Lucky for us and the other 48 exclusive attendees, we got to sample her cooking.
After the demo, she took questions from the audience and we learned about the intense time frame it takes to film just one episode of Chopped. We also learned about Chef Chauhan's favorite comfort food dish (Yellow lentil soup with rice) and fun tidbits about her personal life.
She treated us to helpful tips for cooking with minimal ingredients for college students cooking on a limited budget. Her primary suggestion was to use lots of spices to add flavor to dishes, and add your own touch to recipes to make even the most classic recipes your own.
"You need to own the dish," says Chauhan. While spices can take any dish to the next level, appealing to all of the senses and making each dish so that you personally enjoy it is what matters.
Thank you to Mizzou Campus Dining and the Department of Student Activities for hosting such a wonderful, inspirational person and for educating us and others about cooking, international recipes and culture!
Do you want to make one of Chef Chauhan's recipe for yourself?
Check out her cookbook Flavors of My World.