Ritu Dalmia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Ritu Dalmia
Born1973 (age 45–46)
Calcutta (now Kolkata), West Bengal, India
OccupationCelebrity chef, restaurateur, LGBT activist
Known forItalian cuisine

Ritu Dalmia (born 1973) is an Indian celebrity chef and restaurateur. She is the chef and co-owner of the popular Italian restaurant Diva in Delhi, which she established in 2000, with co-founder Gita Bhalla under partnership firm "Riga Food".[1] Other restaurants of company are "Latitude 28" and "Cafe Diva".[2][3] She started hosting TV cookery show, "Italian Khana" for NDTV Good Times for three seasons, and published her first cookbook by the same name in 2009.[4][5]

Her new show Travelling Diva is being broadcast since 2 February 2012. These shows are being aired on NDTV Good Times channel.[6]

Dalmia is a lesbian and is a prominent LGBT rights activist. In June 2016, Dalmia and five others, all members of the LGBT community themselves, filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court of India challenging Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.[7] This resulted in the 2018 landmark judgment in Navtej Singh Johar and others v. Union of India in which the Supreme Court unanimously declared the law unconstitutional "in so far as it criminalises consensual sexual conduct between adults of the same sex".[8]


Born in Kolkata to a Marwari business family,[9][10] she joined her family business of marble stone at the age of 16. Her work led her to Italy for sourcing where over a period of time develop a liking for Italian cuisine and started learning it as well. Then in 1993, at the age of 22 she started her first restaurant 'MezzaLuna', specialising in Mediterranean cuisine with an "Italian accent", in the Hauz Khas Village, Delhi, but the restaurant wasn't a success and so after three years, she sold it off. Then in 1996, Dalmia moved to London, where she opened the first Indian fine dining restaurant on King's Road, with partner Andy Verma.[11] The restaurant was a big success and received good reviews, however unable to settle in London, in 2000 Dalmia sold off her shares of restaurant to Verma and returned to Delhi. Here in the same year, she opened "Diva" Italian restaurant along with a partner, Gita Bhalla in posh Greater Kailash II, in 2000.[1][12] Today Diva continues to be a popular restaurant in Delhi.[13][14]

She also runs a café at the Italian Embassy's Italian Cultural Centre in the diplomatic enclave, Chanakyapuri, Delhi,[12] "Diva Café in Greater Kailash I, N-Block Market, "Latitude 28" at Khan Market, at the Alliance Francaise, Delhi and "DIVA Piccola" at Hauz Khas village, besides she has also established a catering business.[2][9] In 2007, she started hosting a TV-series, "Italian Khana" on NDTV Good Times, shot in Italy and subsequently the book was also released. The show ran for three seasons and won numerous television awards.[10][15] She has also been a consulting chef with Divattra, the spa restaurant at 'Ashok Hotel', Delhi.[16]

She has been awarded the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity by Government of Italy in December 2011.[17]

She published her food travel, cookbook, Travelling Diva: Recipes from around the World in 2012, and features her favourite recipes from European, Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines and her stories behind them.[11][18]


  • Italian Khana. Random House, India, 2009. ISBN 8184000219.
  • Italian Khana: Dinner Party. Random House, India. ISBN 8184001029.
  • Italian Khana: Desserts. Random House, India. ISBN 978-81-8400-103-7.
  • Italian Khana: Vegetarian. Random House, India. ISBN 978-81-8400-101-3.
  • Travelling Diva: Recipes from around the World, Hachette India 2012. ISBN 9789350092811.


  1. ^ a b "The food DIVA". The Hindu. 11 December 2004.
  2. ^ a b "Ritu Dalmia talks travel". Conde Nast Traveller.
  3. ^ "Chef's Delight – Taking on the stars". Mint. 17 March 2008.
  4. ^ "Italian Khana". NDTV Good Times.
  5. ^ "Something's Cooking: For 17 years now, Ritu Dalmia has been serving Italian Khana. And she is a purist". Outlook Business.
  6. ^ "Traveling Diva". NDTV Good Times.
  7. ^ "Many ups and downs in battle against 377". The Indian Express. 2018-01-11. Retrieved 2018-01-28.
  8. ^ Safi, Michael (2018-09-06). "Campaigners celebrate as India decriminalises homosexuality". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-09-09.
  9. ^ a b Vir Sanghvi (21 August 2008). "Rude Food: Portrait of a Diva". Hindustan Times.
  10. ^ a b "Ritu Dalmia, author of cookbook travelling diva, whips it up". The Telegraph (Kolkata). 30 January 2012.
  11. ^ a b "There's a story behind every dish in this book". India Today. 25 December 2011.
  12. ^ a b "New-age entrepreneur: young, dynamic and successful". The Tribune. 16 November 2003.
  13. ^ Pippa De Bruyn; Keith Bain; David Allardice; Shonar Joshi (2010). "Delhi". Frommer's India. John Wiley & Sons. p. 442. ISBN 0470602643.
  14. ^ Sarina Singh; Lindsay Brown, Mark Elliott, Paul Harding.. (2009). Lonely Planet India. Lonely Planet. p. 151. ISBN 1741791510.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ "Italian Khana: Best Cookery Show At The Indian Telly Awards, 2009". NDTV Good Times.
  16. ^ "VOTERS SPEAK: Ritu Dalmia". Indian Express. 27 November 2008.
  17. ^ "About the Anchor". NDTV Good Times.
  18. ^ "All Things Food". Indian Express. 15 December 2011.

External links[edit]