New York: Indian American chef Chintan Pandya won the Best Chef award for New York State at the James Beard Foundation Awards on June 14.
Pandya’s restaurant Dhamaka, an “unapologetic Indian” eatery according to its website promises to showcase, “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.
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.
At the JBFA, Pandya, while accepting his award, gave special thanks to his business partner Roni Mazumdar.
“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 year I realized 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.”
The James Beard Awards, “considered to be among the nation’s most prestigious honors, recognize exceptional talent in the culinary and food media industries, as well as a demonstrated commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability and a culture where all can thrive.”
CEO of the James Beard Foundation Clare Reichenbach said that the awards “recognize outstanding food and beverage professionals” and also “honor our entire industry—and the incredible resilience, fortitude, talent, and leadership so many have shown over the past two years” amid the COVID19 pandemic.
Pandya and Mazumdar are the duo behind New York City’s other popular Indian restaurants ‘Adda’ and ‘Rahi’.
‘Dhamaka’ also featured in The New York Times list of the 50 most vibrant and delicious restaurants in America in 2021.