Best known as one of the panel of judges on the award-winning Food Network program, Chopped, Maneet
Chauhan’s energy and creativity, combined with polished culinary skills
and the courage to follow her passion, have proven to be the right
ingredients for success. Recently name to Nation's Restaurant News 2019 Power List, Maneet is the founding partner and president of Morph Hospitality Group in Nashville, TN. In November 2018, Maneet opened Chaatable in the Sylvan Heihts section of Nashville. The eatery has been a passion project for Maneet and husband Vivek Deora and draws inspiration from their childhoods and the regional street food throughout India. The company also owns Chauhan Ale & Masala House, a microbrewery and gastropub with Indian influences; Tansuo, serving contemporary Chinese cuisine; and Mockingbird, a modern diner serving global fare, all of which are located in Nashville. Maneet is also the co-owner of Mantra Artisan Ales in Franklin, TN and a partner in the Steel Barrel Brewery in Murfreesboro, TN.
“From the moment I stepped foot in the Music City I’ve had a love affair
with the people and the burgeoning culinary scene,” she says.
Premiering in 2019, Maneet hosts her own television program called Festive Cooking with Maneet on TV Asia featuring wholesome ingredients and festive meals spanning the entire regional cuisine of South Asia. Maneet's first cookbook, Flavors of My World, A Culinary Tour Through 25 Countries, was co-written with Doug Singer ’03 and released on May 1, 2013.
from Ludhiana, 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 in
hotel management from The Welcomegroup Graduate School of Hotel
Administration, and then interned at some of India’s finest hotels and
kitchens, including the Taj Group, Oberoi Hotels, and Le Meridian. "I asked one of my instructors at the hotel school which was the best culinary school in the world and without batting an eye he said The Culinary Institute of America. It was this that started my quest, hunger, and passion to experience this education and I never turned back." she says.
At the age of 20, Maneet continued her culinary education in 1998 by enrolling in The Culinary Institute of America’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. "My experience at the CIA was an extremely valuable one. It provided me the foundation that has brought me to where I am today. I remember walking through the halls in a sensory overload, as I was trying to absorb everything that was around me. The CIA was and still is my Disneyland,” says Maneet.
“I made it a point to get involved in everything and anything. If anyone
needed a volunteer, I was there. The chef-instructors were always
looking for students to help with competitions and events. On the
weekends I would assist the continuing education classes. I applied to
be an RA. I was a tour guide, I was on the judiciary board, and editor
of the school paper.” Maneet graduated with top honors while earning
numerous service and scholastic achievement awards. “The energy of the campus and the fact that I was under the same roof with at least 2,000 other people who were as passionate about food as I was, was an incredible feeling-I truly belonged."
Maneet 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 was pitted against 40 male
chefs for the executive chef position at Rohini Dey’s contemporary
Indian and Latin American fusion restaurant Vermillion. She prevailed
and was the restaurant’s opening chef. In 2007, Maneet moved to New York
City to open At Vermilion where she was nominated as the Best Import to
New York by Time Out magazine. During her tenure with these landmark restaurants, they received exceptional reviews from Bon Appétit, USA Today, Time, Esquire, Travel & Leisure, Gourmet, Town & Country, Business Week, and O, The Oprah Magazine, as well as getting a stunning three-star review from the Chicago Tribune.
spending eight years leading the Vermilion kitchens in Chicago and New
York, Maneet ventured out on her own and founded Indie Culinaire, a
culinary event, consulting, and hospitality company. “My daughter was
born in 2011 and that was a real turning point for me,” Maneet says. “I
realized I wanted to see what was out in the world, to increase my
repertoire, and make it more interesting. That inspired me to start my
is an active supporter of CRY (Child Rights and You) and P.A.V.E.
(Partnerships for Action, Voices for Empowerment) and is involved with
mentoring youths through the education arm of the National Restaurant
Association’s Pro-Start program. Maneet was chosen as the only chef to
cook at the first ever Indiaspora Inaugural Ball, honoring the
re-election of President Barack Obama.
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 her
restaurants, Maneet is constantly honing her culinary skills, perfecting
her trade, and challenging herself by adding new recipes to her
repertoire. The combination is her proven formula for success. That
success has taken her to become the only Indian female ever to compete
on Food Network’s Next Iron Chef in 2010 and as a contestant on the network’s Chopped All-Stars.