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Chef Raghavan Iyer drops jalebis and gems of teaching in Atlanta

By Suzanne Sen
November 2013
Chef Raghavan Iyer drops jalebis and gems of teaching in Atlanta


(Photos: Suzanne Sen)


Chef Raghavan Iyer, a James Beard two-time finalist and a Cooking Teacher of the Year, visited Atlanta on September 17 and 18 as part of a tour with his latest book, Indian Cooking Unfolded. After a "Master Class in Indian Cooking Hands On" at the Midtown/Ansley Mall Chef's Warehouse, and a visit with Cardamom Hill’s Chef Asha Gomez at her new space, Chai & Conversation, he demonstrated recipes at the East Cobb Chef's Warehouse on the 18th.



Ingredients leaping in the pan!



Giving his unique twist to the jalebi mix.

There Chef Iyer showed his passion for teaching. As the pages of his book literally unfold, so does Chef Iyer's teaching unfold the secrets of his cooking. He explains about equipment (knives; the effects of using different types of blenders )—techniques (pulsing the blender blade vs. nonstop use; freeze ghee "and it'll outlive you!"; steaming rice from cold water to craters)—and various veggies (thick or thin chilis; beets, dill, and golden raisins in India). Just as asparagus affects people differently, genetics is the key to why different people taste coriander differently, he explained. His knowledge of the layering of flavors using everyday ingredients may have been aided by his science studies: he has degrees in chemistry (Bombay University) as well as in Hotel and Restaurant Management (Michigan State University).



Testing the syrup.



Bringing you confidence in the kitchen!

Fluent in six languages, he is co-founder of the Asian Culinary Arts Institutes, and leads food and cultural tours to India. On these tours, often visiting spice plantations, and in his classes, some of the most intriguing tidbits deal with spices: Give good Indian cooks some whole spices, he says, and they can extract eight flavors using different techniques—raw ground, sautéed, dry toasted, soaked, etc.—and not subtle differences, but "poles apart!"

Chef Iyer's accolades keep coming: the book, Asian Flavors: Changing the Tastes of Minnesota since 1875 by Phyllis Louise Harris with Raghavan Iyer, inspired a documentary, for which Chef Iyer was the presenter—and which last month won a regional Emmy. He is truly busy teaching America about the many aspects of delicious Indian food.

Website Bonus Feature

Audio podcasts:

From an Atlanta-based blog: Chef and The Fatman is an Atlanta-based radio cooking show.
Chef and the Fatman 09-29-2013 Raghavan Iyer Indian Cooking Unfolded
Posted by chefandthefatman on October 11th, 2013
Cooking techniques for Naan, including a discussion of the Big Green Egg, gluten-free dough, and more.

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