Ramin Ganeshram

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Ramin Ganeshram
Ganeshram at New York City in December 2009.
Born (1968-06-21) June 21, 1968 (age 50)
New York City
EducationInstitute of Culinary Education
Home townNew York City
Spouse(s)Jean Paul Vellotti
Culinary career
Cooking styleTrinidadian

Ramin Ganeshram (born June 21, 1968) is an American journalist, chef and cookbook author who writes about American and Caribbean foodways and culinary culture. She is known for her specialized knowledge of Trinidad & Tobago cuisine and for her work in food history and polycultural American food experiences.

Early life and education[edit]

Ganeshram was born in New York City to a Trinidadian father and an Iranian mother. She attended Stuyvesant High School of Science and earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University, both in Manhattan. Later she trained at the Institute of Culinary Education[1] also in New York City, where she has also worked as a chef instructor. For eight years Ganeshram worked as a feature writer/stringer for The New York Times regional sections and another eight years for Newsday as a food columnist and feature writer.


In addition to contributing to a variety of food publications including Saveur, Gourmet, Bon Appetit and epicurious.com, Ganeshram has written food/culture/travel articles for Islands (as contributing editor);[2] National Geographic Traveler; Forbes Traveler; Forbes Four Seasons and many others. She was as a reporter and writer on Molly O’Neill’s magnum One Big Table (Simon & Schuster 2010). Her own cookbooks include Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad & Tobago (Hippocrene 2006;2nd Ed 2010) and The America I Am: Pass It Down Cookbook (Smiley Books, 2011) with Jeff Henderson[3]

She is a contributor to the Encyclopedia of World Foods (Greenwood Press 2010) and a peer reviewer for the Journal of Food, Culture and Society. Her work also appears in the second edition of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food & Drink in America, which was nominated for an IACP Cookbook award in 2014 and in Savoring Gotham also forthcoming from Oxford University Press.

Ganeshram has received seven journalism awards for her writing and an International Association of Culinary Professionals Bert Greene culinary journalism nomination. Her cookbook "FutureChefs: Recipes from Tomorrow's Cooks Across America and the World"[4] won a 2015 International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook of the Year Award in the Children, Youth & Family category.[5]

In January 2010, she founded the charity Food 4 Haiti,[6] to raise money for the UN World Food Programme’s effort in the earthquake ravaged Haiti. She was formerly on the board of the Meriden, Connecticut-based non-profit, My City Kitchen, which teaches kids about food and cooking as a way to instill healthy lifestyle habits while raising self-esteem. Currently, she is the co-chairperson of the Food Access Coalition an Fairfield County, CT based nonprofit that works to promote food justice in the local area.

Her first work of fiction Stir It Up![7] focuses on a teen chef who gets a shot at cooking competition show on Food Network. Ganeshram herself has appeared on Food Network on the show Throwdown! with Bobby Flay and has made appearances on CNNfn, Good Day New York, and other news and lifestyle shows for both radio and television.[8]


In January 2016, her children's book A Birthday Cake for George Washington, about U.S. President George Washington's slaves who look for ingredients to bake a birthday cake for their owner, was published by Scholastic. It was criticized for "white-washing" and "sugar-coating" the brutality of life in slavery and was withdrawn by the publisher 12 days after its release.[9][10]

Ganeshram responded to the controversy in an article in the Guardian: "Hercules’s story is complex, but that is exactly why to my mind it deserves to be told in books for children and adults. Banning A Birthday Cake for George Washington felt, to me, like an erasure...It goes without saying that an irrevocable injustice was done them...We owe them a debt of respect and gratitude. And by speaking out rather than remaining cowed and silent we must do them the justice of telling their individual truths particular to their experiences."[11]

In 2018, Ganeshram published The General's Cook, (Skyhorse, NY) the novel she had been working on previous to the publication of Birthday Cake. In the novel's acknowledgment's the author reprised public statements regarding her objections to and attempts to persuade the publisher to alter what she called the "offensive nature" of the picture book's illustrations.[12][13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Unique Culinary Careers: Ramin Ganeshram | DICED: The Official Blog of ICE". Blog.iceculinary.com. Retrieved 2012-10-06.
  2. ^ "ISLANDS Experts: Our Best Contributors". Islands.com. Retrieved 2012-10-06.
  3. ^ "Jeff Henderson". Food Network. Retrieved 2012-10-06.
  4. ^ FutureChefs: Recipes from Tomorrow's Cooks Across America and the World (Rodale, 2014)
  5. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-06-10. Retrieved 2015-06-10.
  6. ^ "Food 4 Haiti Westporter organizes event with help of 50 food celebs - Thehour.com: Arts And Life". Thehour.com. 2010-01-27. Retrieved 2012-10-06.
  7. ^ Stir It Up: A Novel. "Stir It Up: A Novel: Ramin Ganeshram: 9780545165822: Amazon.com: Books". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2012-10-06.
  8. ^ "Bobby Flay loses spicy chicken wing throwdown to Colette Burnett of Super Wings NY". Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  9. ^ "New statement about the picture book "A Birthday Cake for George Washington"". Scholastic. Retrieved 2016-01-17.
  10. ^ Kids Book Depicts Happy Slaves at George Washington's Estate
  11. ^ My book on George Washington was banned. Here's my side of the story
  12. ^ "Interview with Ramin Ganeshram, author of The General's Cook: A Novel - Journal of the American Revolution". Journal of the American Revolution. 2018-11-05. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  13. ^ "The General's Cook". Skyhorse Publishing. Retrieved 2018-11-08.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]