The Indian Kitchen with Michelin-Starred Chef Hemant Mathur and Part 2 of Soul Food Love

  • Wed
    Apr 01
    7:00 pm -
    8:00 pm
  • Fri
    Apr 03
    7:00 am -
    8:00 am

Haldi and Hemant MathurWhen I walked into the Curry Hill restaurant Haldi several weeks ago at dinner time I was surprised and a little giddy that the person who greeted me and my guests was Hemant Mathur.  Hemant and his business partners own six Indian restaurants in NYC, and I had serendipitously picked the right one, the spot where Hemant was overseeing the new menu.  In addition to earning a Michelin star at two previous spots in his career, Devi and Tulsi, I have been lucky to eat Hemant’s food when he was in the kitchens previously at Ama and Tamarind.

What better to do but ask him to order for us, which I did.  I am not certain what part of the meal I relished most, the seamless flow of one enticing and varied dish to another all based on three distinct culinary traditions of Kolkata-Bengali, Marwari, and Jewish, or the exclamations of pure happiness coming from my dining partners who had rarely, if ever, experienced this type of attention to tradition and modern preparation in an Indian meal.

Chaats-Haldi

Sabita Sawhney, the chef and owner of Sabi’s Cafe, joins me in the studio to speak with Hemant about his plans to introduce more regional cuisines from all over India in his other five restaurants. 

Part 2 of Great Taste

Soul Food LoveIt was my good fortune to speak recently with Caroline Randall Williams and her mother, Alice Randall. They are the co-authors of Soul Food Love-Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family. I hope you will make the time to listen, buy the book, read their amazing story, and use the many creative recipes while creating your own kitchen legacy.  

The book has two distinct parts-a narrative written by Alice that tells the story of three generations of cooks in her family who each weighed more than 200 pounds, and the fourth generation's different story penned by Caroline, who refused to succumb to the same weight issues.   Caroline developed the recipes that make up the second part of the book.

This week, Alice discusses over 100 years of cooking in her family, stories of both the men and women.  She describes the historical reality of the kitchen from an insecure, scary place, to a spot filled with warmth and community, and how that positive change in the kitchen’s personality along with the rise of industrialization resulted in the current health issues affecting the African American community.

The message of Soul Food Love is powerful and inspiring.  Though it ostensibly deals with one African American family, the stories and recipes are tools that anyone can use.

Alice Randall is the bestselling author of four novels, and the writer of one of my all-time favorite country songs, "XXX's and OOO's (An American Girl)," sung by Trisha Yearwood.  For more information on Alice, who teaches at Vanderbilt University, check our her website.