Women’s History Month is over, but I have decided to keep this series going because there are so many still relatively unknown and unsung women chefs/cooks/food entrepreneurs in the Philadelphia food scene. I feel like they could use more attention and you should know about them. So, if you or someone you know should be featured here, please contact me. Help me shine a spotlight on the women accomplishing great things in the culinary and hospitality fields.
Chetna Macwan wants to educate folks about Indian cuisine properly. She’s quickly becoming a voice and presence in Philadelphia about how to cook, eat, and enjoy Indian foods. I have known Chetna for a few years. We met at a new Indian restaurant’s grand opening in Cherry Hill, and we hit it off. Our shared appreciation of food and cooking brought us together, and now I’m happy to call her a friend.
I asked her to write a little something so that I could turn it into a story, but since she is such a great writer herself, I thought I’d publish what she sent me. You can’t help but appreciate her passion for Indian cuisine, the art of cooking, good ingredients, and instructing others.
There are so many spectacular dishes and styles of food out there that you can have the same meal twice, and it will taste different depending on the person or place that makes it. And that is a beautiful thing!
Some background on myself: I am from a North Indian Gujarati background. My inspiration is my late mom’s fantastic home cooking, to which there is nothing better, from hot rotli (an unleavened flatbread also known as chapatis) to curries, dessert, and homemade pickles. Everything she made was perfect!
Because of her influence, I have a passion for cooking Indian food for my family and others. I love showing people how to make Indian food with uncomplicated steps and, most importantly, without sacrificing flavor. My goal is to show people how to make many traditional/fusion Indian dishes in a way that is much easier to prepare for the everyday cook. Making Indian food at home doesn’t need to be intimidating or unapproachable.
As in many cultures, food is an incredible way to bring people together, make new friends, and initiate new conversations. This is why I share my knowledge of Indian food as a chef/host on TV shows, radio, podcasts, magazines, blogs, supper clubs, and other media outlets. I love meeting new people interested in and wanting to learn more about Indian food.
Some highlights of what I have done, what I’m currently up, and what’s happening soon include:
🌶️ I was a co-host of a streaming TV show on NJ on Air called Kitchen 2 Kitchen. My co-hosts and I were guests on the Today Show.
🌶️ I also have an IGTV show called Food For Thought available every Saturday at 11:30 AM, featuring guest interviews.
🌶️ This year, I will also be co-hosting a TV show called Womenz Straight Talk regarding food, lifestyle, culture, and current events. They also have a magazine by the same name that I am writing for regarding food & culture in different parts of the world.
🌶️ I have been on several local and regional radio shows and podcasts, such as Food Farms and Chefs, Joe’s Table for Two, and Small Bites.
🌶️ I will lead an Indian cooking demonstration and dinner at Old City Kitchen, a new collaborative kitchen and event space located at 218 Market Street in Philadelphia, on April 8 and 29.
🌶️ In the past, I have led cooking demonstrations at Audrey Claire’s Cook and also at the EnCourage Kids Charity Gala in NYC, which is a very well-known and publicized event benefiting children and their families dealing with long-term illnesses.
🌶️ I also offer private and group classes (virtual and in-person) and private chef events from time to time, depending on requests.
🌶️ Lastly, I do recipe development and writing for my blog, The Spiceopedia.
Is that all, Chetna? Yes, this is one woman chef you should know and watch! Check out her shows and cooking demonstrations when you get a chance and you’ll be just as inspired as I am.
Food enthusiast. Travel lover. Social media maven.
Independent Journalist. Food marketing/PR expert.
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