Indian American Chintan Pandya Wins Best Chef Award for New York State
Pandya, whose eatery Dhamaka is making waves in New York, was felicitated at the James Beard Foundation Awards.
Pandya owns a restaurant called Dhamaka, an "unapologetic Indian" eatery that is, according to its website, "the other side of India, the forgotten side of India."
It was also nominated for the Best New Restaurant award, which eventually went to an Indigenous restaurant in Minneapolis.
Dhamaka's Diverse Menu
The menu at Dhamaka includes snacks like Papdi Chaat, Beguni (fried eggplant), and Gurda Kapoora (goat kidney & testicles, red onion, pao).
The grills and the mains include dishes like Himachali Trout, Lasooni Prawn, Paneer Methi, Paplet Fry (Pomfret fish), and Champaran Meat.
'Believed in My Stupidity': Pandya's Special Message of Thanks
At the JBFA, Pandya, while accepting his award, gave special thanks to a gentleman named Ronnie, his business partner.
"The reason he is over here is that I always came up with ideas that were idiotic and stupid. I met this guy five years back, and after a years I realised that he's a bigger idiot than me because he believes in those ideas. And because he believed... in my stupidity that I'm standing here, so big thanks to him."
He even clicked a victory selfie with the whole audience.
Pandya's restaurant was ranked number one on "New York's Top 10 New Restaurants of 2021," published by The New York Times.
"Every dish comes at you as if it wants to either marry you or kill you," the article read.
Another NYT article about "the 50 places in America we're most excited about right now," praised Dhamaka for its "fresh view of Indian cuisine by making it more citified."
Outstanding Restaurant Award Won by Chai Pani
The restaurant is famous for its chaats – potato chaat, corn bhel, green mango chaat, and bhelpuri, among others.
While accepting the award on stage, five-time James Beard-nominated chef Meherwan Irani, who runs the restaurant, said that "restaurants are so much greater than the sum of what's inside the four walls. A restaurant has the power to transform – transform the people that work there, transform the people that come in, transform the communities we're in, transform society. Restaurants can transform the world."
You can read more about the restaurant here.
Additionally, Ashok Bajaj of Knightsbridge Restaurant Group was nominated for the Outstanding Restaurateur award, and Cheetie Kumar was nominated for the Best Chef: Southeast award.
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