Chef Neela Paniz’s food journey spans a lifetime and tens of thousands of miles. After growing up in India in the years following the fall of the British Raj, she landed in the US in her twenties having never cooked anything and by the time Strauss and Phelps sit down at her kitchen table, she’s a veteran chef who’s launched three restaurants including Bombay Cafe, LA’s pillar of modern-Indian street food; she’s a “Chopped” champion, a cookbook author and one of the most articulate and knowledgeable voices in cuisine.
Neela welcomes us into her home kitchen and not only cooks for us, but also gives us a cooking lesson with a great recipe for the killer-ketchup replacement - her incredible and not-hard-to-make Sweet Tomato Chutney. Strauss reveals that it is this chutney and Neela who cost him a hilarious trip to the ER and a small part of himself. Neela talks about learning to cook watching Julia Child and their eventual meeting. She takes us on an intercontinental adventure of her life from being a schoolgirl in India to owning and running restaurants in Napa and Hollywood. We learn secrets of “blooming” spices to maximize their flavor and impact. And of course, there's a little Indian-food-friendly Day Drinking with Taj Mahal Lager and Meyer-Nakel Rose of Pinot Noir.
Recipe - Neela’s Sweet Tomato Chutney