Originally from India, Maneet comes from a culture that stresses the importance of education. She had to prove herself as a serious culinary professional. “I chose an unconventional career path where the norm was to become a doctor or an engineer,” she says. She credits her family’s support for her success today.
Maneet earned a bachelor’s degree from India’s top hotel management school, The Welcome Group Graduate School of Hotel Management, and then interned at some of India’s finest hotels and kitchens, including the Taj Group, Oberoi Hotels, and Le Meridian.
She continued her culinary education in 1998 by enrolling in the CIA’s baking and pastry arts associate degree program. She knew instantly that she was in the right place—everyone was passionate about cooking and food. Maneet graduated with top honors while earning numerous service and scholastic achievement awards. She gained valuable culinary experience managing a family owned, fine-dining Indian restaurant in Cherry Hill, NJ. But she wanted something more—a place where she could apply her creativity and passion for cooking.
Deciding to take a chance, she jumped in her Mazda Miata and headed for Chicago. She fell in love with the city and began her quest to find a job in a dynamic and challenging environment. Maneet introduced herself to Rohini Dey, the owner of contemporary Indian and Latin American fusion restaurant Vermillion. She was hired as executive chef.
Her visions have helped Vermillion earn many accolades, including Chicago Magazine’s Best New Restaurant in May 2004, Esquire’s Restaurant of the Month, and Wine Enthusiast’s Best New Restaurant in the U.S. for 2004. She has also received exceptional reviews from Bon Appetit, Nation’s Restaurant News, and USA Today.
Being an executive chef is as much about running a successful business as it is about pursuing a passion for food. In addition to all the details of managing the upscale restaurant, Maneet is constantly honing her culinary skills, perfecting her trade, and challenging herself by adding new recipes to her repertoire and the restaurant menu. The combination is her proven formula for success. That success has taken her to become a contestant on the Food Network’s Next Iron Chef in 2010 and as a contestant on the network’s Chopped All-Stars.
Meet Maneet in this video >