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US celeb chef brings restaurant to city

Jehangir Mehta of TV show Ironchef fame is looking at South Mumbai for his latest venture.

india Updated: Feb 20, 2011 13:43 IST
Rochelle Pinto

Celebrity chef of Indian origin, Jehangir Mehta, has earned his stripes in New York, with two acclaimed restaurants under his belt. After his first runners-up position on the TV reality show, Ironchef, bookings at Mehta’s joints, Graffiti and Metaphor, went through the roof.

Now, Mumbai-born Mehta is looking to bring his style of cooking back home. “I’m looking for venues in South Mumbai, because that’s the place I connect with,” he says. “I’ll be shuttling between Mumbai and New York once the restaurant comes up, because I’ve made up my mind that I will never open a franchise.”

Mehta is renowned in the West for incorporating principles of Ayurveda in his Asian fusion cuisine. “When my wife was diagnosed with cancer, a nutritionist friend gave me some diet tips for her. Though the diet was very hard to follow, after sticking to it, even the doctors were surprised at how her blood platelet count remained high, and it was all because of the food,” he explains. Convinced that good food equals good health, Mehta even launched a programme for kids, to help them appreciate complex ingredients in food.

But the health-conscious chef is upset about India’s new obsession with junk food. “Fast food joints like McDonald’s offer healthier options like salads, so why should they take the blame if you opt for a burger instead?” he asks, adding, “America is moving towards home-cooked and organic food as was the culture in India a few years ago. But people here have begun eating more processed food.”

The master chef recalls eateries here that have impressed him, saying, “I want to check out this new place called The Table (Colaba). I hear they’ve brought down chefs from the US. And Bademiya (Colaba) was the only street food place my mother allowed me to eat from when I was growing up, so I still go there.”