HomeFoodTwo Indian American Chefs Named As James Beard Award Finalists

Two Indian American Chefs Named As James Beard Award Finalists

Two Indian American Chefs Named As James Beard Award Finalists

Two Indian American Chefs Named As James Beard Award Finalists

Photo:Chef Sujan Sarkar

India-West News Desk

NEW YORK, NY – Two Indian American chefs have made it to the list of finalists for the coveted James Beard Foundation Award for 2024.

Sujan Sarkar, the creative force behind Chicago’s Indienne, has been recognized as one of the top chefs in the Great Lakes region. With a culinary journey spanning continents, Sarkar’s expertise and innovative flair have garnered widespread acclaim.

His first foray into the US culinary scene came with the launch of Rooh in San Francisco in early 2017, a venture that swiftly gained recognition and acclaim on the West Coast. Building on this success, Sarkar ventured into the vibrant culinary landscape of New York, opening his first Indian gastro bar, Baarr. His arrival in Chicago in 2019 marked a pivotal moment, with the launch of Good Times Restaurants and subsequently, the acclaimed Indienne. Within a remarkably short span, Indienne secured a coveted Michelin star in 2023, a testament to Sarkar’s culinary vision and commitment to excellence.

Born and raised in a small town near Kolkata, Sarkar’s culinary journey began with a deep-rooted appreciation for the ingredients and techniques that define Indian cuisine.

Photo: Arvinder ‘Dickey’ Vilkhu and family. Photo Facebook

Arvinder ‘Dickey’ Vilkhu, the president and executive chef of Saffron Nola in New Orleans, has likewise left an indelible mark on the culinary landscape. With over 40 years of dedication to the food and beverage industry, his culinary journey traces back to his formative years in India, where he was exposed to the rich tapestry of flavors and traditions that define Indian cuisine.

After relocating to the United States in 1984, Vilkhu assumed leadership roles in esteemed establishments such as the InterContinental Hotel in New Orleans and the elite Pickwick Club. However, it was his innate talent for cooking and a burgeoning demand for his culinary creations that led Vilkhu to transition from hospitality management to culinary entrepreneurship. Alongside his wife, Pardeep, Vilkhu founded Saffron Caterers, a venture that quickly gained acclaim for its fusion of South Asian and Louisiana influences.

After gaining widespread praise for food that combined South Asian and Louisiana influences, Saffron became a brick-and-mortar location in 2017. It is run by Arvinder and Pardeep and their children Ashwin and Pranita.

The final winners will be revealed in Chicago on June 10.

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