Plant Based World Council Introductions: Palak Patel
Chef Palak Patel’s journey is a vibrant tapestry woven with passion, skill, and a heartfelt mission to empower others through food. A classically trained chef and a two-time Food Network champion, Patel has made a significant mark in the culinary world, both through her on-screen presence and her innovative approach to plant-based cooking.
Growing up in a vegetarian household in India, Patel’s culinary roots were nurtured by the most influential women in her life – her mother, grandmother, and aunts. Moving to the United States at the age of 12, she honed her skills at the French Culinary Institute and embarked on a culinary journey that took her from the South of France to San Francisco and New York City.
“My journey into this space has been a very personal one,” she shares. When her mother was diagnosed with diabetes, Patel delved into her medical records and realized the need for a lifestyle change. This led to a profound exploration of plant-based alternatives, particularly in dairy, to assist her mother’s health. “My mom was able to shift to plant-based dairy alternatives over the past 5 years, and today she turns 79!” Patel exclaims with pride.
Her recent venture, Dash & Chutney, in Atlanta’s Chattahoochee Food Works, showcases her expertise in plant-based Indian street food. This concept aligned perfectly with the food hall’s vision of celebrating diverse cuisines from around the world. Prior to this, Patel’s culinary projects have spanned from private chef roles to consulting for restaurant launches in Italy, creating unique menus for the Dinner Lab supper club franchise, and catering elegant affairs in New York.
“I believe that the biggest thing you can give people is empowerment to make decisions for themselves,” she asserts. This philosophy is the driving force behind her upcoming cookbook “Food is Love,” which aims to illustrate and encourage plant-based eating through stories and positive emotions.
As Patel transitions from restaurant ownership in Atlanta back to New York to focus on her cookbook, her journey continues to inspire. Her approach to cooking is not just about tantalizing the taste buds; it’s about instilling a feeling, activating people to make healthy lifestyle choices, and showing how plant-based cooking can be a source of joy and connection. Chef Palak Patel stands as a beacon in the culinary world, using her expertise to transform lives one love-filled dish at a time.