Meherwan Irani

Credit: Molly Milroy/Chai Pani Restaurant Group

CEO, Executive Chef and Founder of Chai Pani Restaurant Group

Maker: Chef

Meherwan Irani is a chef and restaurateur changing the perception of Indian food in America through his growing restaurant and spice empire in two of the South’s most essential culinary cities. He is a leading voice in the industry’s conversation around diversity and cultural exchange. Meherwan is a three-time James Beard Award nominee for Best Chef: Southeast, in August 2018 he was named by TIME Magazine as one of the “31 People Changing The South” and in December 2018, he was deemed a “Southerner of the Year” by Southern Living.

He leads a team of more than 250 as CEO, Executive Chef and Founder of Chai Pani Restaurant Group that includes Chai Pani Asheville, Chai Pani Decatur, MG Road, Botiwalla, Buxton Hall Barbecue, and Spicewalla. His seventh business, Botiwalla Alpharetta, is slated to open May 2019.

Meherwan grew up in a Ahmednagar, in the midwestern state of Maharashtra in India, and he came to the U.S. at age 20. In 2009, he and his wife and business partner, Molly, introduced Asheville, North Carolina, to the colors, flavors and faces of India with Chai Pani.

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