Meeru Dhalwala

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Meeru Dhalwala
Meeru Dhalwala.jpg
Meeru Dhalwala
Born India
Occupation restaurateur, chef, cookbook author
Known for Vij's, Rangoli, Shanik, Joy of Feeding, Vancouver
Spouse(s) Vikram Vij

Meeru Dhalwala is an author, chef and co-owner, with her ex-husband Vikram Vij, of the Indian restaurants Vij's and Rangoli in Vancouver, British Columbia.[1][2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Meeru Dhalwala was born in India. When she was still young she moved to Washington, D.C with her parents. She began her career in D.C., working with various international non-profit organizations on human rights and economic development projects. She attended the University of Bath in England, receiving a master's degree in Development Studies.[4][5][6]

Career[edit]

In February 1995, Dhalwala joined her husband, Vikram Vij, in Vancouver, British Columbia. She began managing the kitchen and creating recipes for their newly opened restaurant, Vij's.[4] In the early days her husband's parents would make the curry at their home and deliver it by bus to the restaurant.[7][8] By 2003, Mark Bittman of the New York Times was praising Vij's Restaurant as "easily among the finest Indian restaurants in the world".[9][10]

In 2004, Dhalwala and Vij opened up a second restaurant and market called Rangoli.[4] Both restaurants are known to have an all female kitchen staff,[2][11][12] having all come from the Punjab of India.[4][5] Dhalwala and her cooks experiment together with new techniques and spice combinations. Along with the restaurant recipes, Dhalwala creates recipes for Vij's Inspired Indian Cuisine, a line of prepackaged gourmet curries. The product line is sold in Rangoli's market, and in grocery stores across British Columbia and other regions.[4][5]

In November 2012, Dhalwala launched a new restaurant called Shanik, in Seattle, Washington.[13][14] The project was in partnership with Oguz Istif, who is also involved in heading finance and operations for the Vij's companies in Vancouver. Shanik was an Indian restaurant with an original menu, different from her Vij's and Rangoli menus.[15][16] Shanik closed in March 2015.[17]

Dhalwala and Vij have co-published two cookbooks,[4][18] with Dhalwala writing the text.[19][20] In 2006, Dhalwala penned the first, Vij's: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine,[19] which won several awards in 2007, including Cuisine Canada's Gold Award for Best Cookbook and Cordon d'Or Gold Ribbon International Cookbook Award.[15][21][22] The book also took first place in the reference category at the Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design.[23] In 2010, she penned Vij's at Home: Relax Honey,[20] which placed second in the Best Indian Cuisine Book in the World category at the 2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards [21] and received silver at the Canadian Culinary Book Awards.[24]

Advocacy and Interests[edit]

Dhalwala believes in supporting local business and agriculture, and is committed to improving her business environmental footprint. Within her restaurants, Dhalwala takes strides to build long-term relationships with local farmers and other local suppliers in order to source produce, seafood and meats that align with her philosophy.[4][5][6] Dhalwala has added crickets to her restaurant menus, advocating them as a healthy and sustainable food source. She is working to have them farmed locally.[18][25] Dhalwala is active in the community and sits on the board of Vancouver Farmers Markets.[5][6] With her restaurant in Seattle, she worked to build relationships with Oregon and Washington farmers just as she did in British Columbia with her Vancouver restaurants.[16]

Dhalwala actively researches topics around food, the environment and health. This plays a key role in developing her recipes. Dhalwala is particularly interested in sharing her cooking skills with parents who wish to feed their families in a way that is "easy, delicious and healthy".[5][6] Dhalwala shared her ideas through her regular monthly column in The Vancouver Sun, titled Food for Thought, and a regular Point Person for CBC Radio's 2009 national show The Point.[4] Dhalwala hosts annual cooking shows at the Bowery Whole Foods Kitchen in New York City.[5][6]

Dhalwala is founder and co-organizer of the Joy of Feeding, an annual international food fair held at the UBC Farm in Vancouver.[26][27] The event serves a fundraiser for the farm and combines a focus on culture, health and the environment. It features around 16 home cooks from various heritages and professions, sharing their home style of comfort foods. Most of the food is sourced organically and/or locally. Dhalwala's vision is to grow the event to "a worldwide Joy of Feeding day where various communities throughout the world gather together to feature and share their home cooked meals".[5][6]

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Insider's Guide: Vikram Vij and Meeru Dhalwala take you through Vancouver", National Post, June 12, 2009.
  2. ^ a b "The Cheat: The Greens Party", New York Times, November 3, 2010.
  3. ^ "Bug Appetit! Insects as Ingredients", Nightline, July 23, 2008.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Meeru Dhalwala". D & M Publishers. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "Judges: Meeru Dhalwala". Better Together. Retrieved September 11, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f "WCOC Faculty". Retrieved September 11, 2012. [permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Vancouver chef reinvents Indian food", Toronto Star, September 3, 2009.
  8. ^ "Flavours of Vij's excellent adventure", Vancouver Sun, September 20, 2006.
  9. ^ Bittman, Mark (8 August 2003). "JOURNEYS; 36 Hours - Vancouver, British Columbia". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved July 26, 2008. 
  10. ^ Suen, Renée (Mar 11, 2011). "Q&A with Vikram Vij: the celebrated Vancouver chef on his successes and why he won't open a restaurant in Toronto". Toronto Life. Toronto Life Publishing Company Ltd. Archived from the original on March 14, 2011. Retrieved Jul 26, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Eat, Play, Love" Archived 2013-01-05 at Archive.is, Western Living, September 2, 2010.
  12. ^ "If Meals Won Medals", New York Times, February 2, 2010.
  13. ^ "Vij’s family of restaurants expands to Seattle", Vancouver Sun, May 9, 2012.
  14. ^ "New Indian restaurant by 'world's best' Vij's coming to Seattle", Seattle Times, May 10, 2012.
  15. ^ a b Vulcan Real Estate (May 10, 2012). "Shanik Restaurant to Open in South Lake Union" (PDF) (press release). Retrieved September 10, 2012. [permanent dead link]
  16. ^ a b Vermillion, Allecia (May 7, 2012). "Meeru Dhalwala, Culinary Force Behind Vij's, Is Opening a Seattle Restaurant". SeattleMet. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  17. ^ https://www.seattlemet.com/articles/2015/2/23/meeru-dhalwalas-shanik-will-close-march-21st-in-south-lake-union-february-2015
  18. ^ a b "From haute to cricket cuisine", CBC News, June 23, 2008.
  19. ^ a b Dhalwala, Meeru; Vij, Vikram (2006). Vij's: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine. Vancouver, Toronto, Berkeley: Douglas & McIntyre, D&M Publishers Inc. ISBN 978-1-55365-184-0. 
  20. ^ a b Dhalwala, Meeru; Vij, Vikram (2010). Vij's at Home: Relax, Honey. Vancouver, Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, D&M Publishers Inc. ISBN 978-1-55365-572-5. 
  21. ^ a b "More than Recipes: Inspired Food Writing with Meeru Dhalwala". The Tyee. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Vij's: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine". D & M Publishers Inc. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Indian Cuisine at the Top of the List". D & M Publishers Inc. 5 November 2007. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Vij's At Home: Relax, Honey". D & M Publishers Inc. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  25. ^ Stainsby, Mia (October 24, 2011). "Rangoli puts insect dish on menu". The Vancouver Sun. Postmedia Network Inc. Retrieved September 11, 2012. 
  26. ^ Stainsby, Mia (June 7, 2012). "Joy of Feeding reaches for the heart". The Vancouver Sun. Postmedia Network Inc. Retrieved September 11, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Joy of Feeding". Joy of Feeding 2012. Retrieved September 11, 2012. 

External links[edit]