2018 Nourish Chefs - Maneet Chauhan & Friends

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MAneet Chauhan
Chauhan Ale & Masala House

Chef Maneet Chauhan is an award-winning cookbook author, television personality, active philanthropist and Executive Chef of Chauhan Ale & Masala House. In addition to her unprecedented prowess in the kitchen, Chef Maneet is known for her work on Food Network’s Emmy-nominated television show “Chopped” where she has been a resident judge for more than five years and a James Beard Award for Excellence recipient. She has also competed on “Iron Chef” and “The Next Iron Chef.”

Chef Maneet was born and raised in India’s Punjab province. As a graduate of India’s WelcomGroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration and the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, she has worked in some of the finest hotels and restaurants in India and the U.S. At a remarkably young age, Chef Maneet became the Executive Chef of Vermillion in Chicago and New York, garnering a wide array of praise including Best New Chef. She has also written her own cookbook, Flavors of My World, as well as introduced a signature spice line.

Most recently, Chef Maneet launched Mantra Artisan Ales, a brewery and taproom in Franklin, Tennessee. With two new restaurant concepts set to open later this year, Chef Maneet is no doubt a visionary chef and restaurateur that is elevating the culinary landscape in Nashville.


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Rahaf Amer
Walden

Rahaf Amer has always known she had a passion for food. She found her love for cooking at the young age of 13 and never stopped. Preparing some of her favorite seafood dishes and Asian cuisine for her family is where she truly felt at home. 

After graduating college with a psychology degree in 2014, Amer switched gears to a career path in culinary. She got her start at the bottom, as most do, working in the kitchen of a gastropub in Washington DC in 2015.

Without formal training, Amer has gained knowledge of the industry over the years through experience. She has worked almost every position possible in a restaurant from hostess and server to line cook and eventually sous chef. There have been two chefs that Amer has worked for that she says have really played an important role in her culinary career. The first, Nick Smith Head Chef of Publicity and Molly Martin, former Culinary Director of Salt & Vine. Both of which have shaped her into the chef we see here today.

A year after opening in the role of sous chef, Amer now takes the stand as Executive Chef at East Nashville’s Walden. A perfectionist with a love for all things culinary, you’ll often find Amer in the kitchen daily testing out a single recipe upwards of twenty times until it’s perfect.  Amer’s driving force in the kitchen is the guest reaction and ability to turn a meal into an unforgettable experience.


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Hrant Arakelian
Lyra

Hrant Arakelian opened his Middle Eastern restaurant Lyra last month with wife and beverage director Elizabeth Endicott. The new restaurant, which draws on Arakelian's Lebanese background, is located in the former Holland House space in East Nashville.  

Arakelian previously worked as executive chef at Holland House as well as Rumours East. He's spent time in the kitchens at Butchertown Hall and Etch as well. Endicott worked on the beverage side at F. Scott’s for many years and ran the beverage program at Lockeland Table.


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Norma Paz
Las Paletas

Sisters Norma and Irma Paz grew up in Mexico eating paletas, a frozen treat similar to an ice pop, made with fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts. 

In 2001 they opened “Las Paletas” in the 12 South neighborhood in Nashville, with the desire to share part of their culture. “We wanted to showcase the very diverse Mexican cuisine as part of our culture, a culture that prides itself on making food from scratch for our loved ones,” Irma recalls. Norma adds,”I wanted to explore my entrepreneurial spirit and have the flexibility to be a mom while starting and growing a new business”. 

Nashville and the 12 South community have embraced Las Paletas as their own, melding diversity and creativity with the traditional Mexican treat.


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Karla Ruiz
Karla's Catering & The Women's Club of Nashville

Raised in a traditional Mexican family in Zamora, Mexico, Karla developed her love of cooking in her Grandma’s kitchen. Meals were handmade, sourced from the back yard garden and took many loving hands to prepare. This was the start of Karla’s passion for bonding family and friends through healthy, beautiful food. Over 10 years ago, Karla broadened her culinary skills and knowledge in the Belle Meade Plantation kitchen, discovering an appreciation of southern food and culture. As Karla says, “both Latino and Southern cuisine connect people to their roots and nurture traditions and shared memories”.

In 2010, Karla launched Karla’s Catering. Years of cooking for events like the James Beard Foundation, The Herb Society of Nashville and numerous Conexion Americas events, found Karla praised by both the Nashville Life Style Magazine and The Tennessean newspaper (articles published in 2011 and 2012). Nashville Life Style raved, “… (Karla’s) delicious creations … (are) authentic cuisine that reflects stellar prowess in the kitchen.” It is Karla’s great pleasure to share her passion through her upscale Southern and Latino catering and offering prepared foods.

In 2013 Karla moved to “Mesa Komal,” Conexion America’s New Program that assist Latino families, and local immigrants with their pursuit of the American dream. In 2014 Karla had the Great Honor to meet The President of The United States, Barrack Obama on his Visit to Nashville. She personally got to thank him for the” DACA Program” which benefited her son
Carlos Ruiz who was currently at Trevecca University.

Karla is now the exclusive cater of “The Women’s Club Of Nashville “ A 100 year old non-profit organization that is committed to enhancing the quality of life in the community, The Historic J.B. House is the perfect venue to celebrate weddings, receptions and many other events. Karla Lives now in Joelton TN, where she loves to enjoy the country life style, she lives with her daughter Sophia, 12 and Husband, Mark.


Stay tuned for information on the rest of this year's chefs!

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