Saran tells it like he sees it and doesn't hold back. I'm not sure he's capable of holding back. And thank God for that. His passion for food, eating healthy, eating quality ingredients and using food to nurture family relationships comes through with nearly every word.
I'm not a Top Chef watcher and was unfamiliar with Saran and his New York restaurant Devi, which is the only Indian restaurant in the U.S. with a Michelin rating. Nor am I easily star struck. (I'm more inclined to get excited to meet a Supreme Court Justice than Justin Bieber).
But I learned a few things that I'll never forget about Saran. For one, he tells a great story...about the discrimination, hate and fear he faced as a gay Indian man when he and his partner decided to venture into organic farming in upstate New York. About how he's been changing attitudes and shattering stereotypes one stomach at a time. How just when he's feels like he's been welcomed and embraced by neighbors, he wakes up to white supremacist graffiti or is looked upon with suspicion.
|Saran and Melissa Elsmo|
I found Saran to be warm, matter of fact and entertaining. And even though I've not tried his recipes out first hand, I had the pleasure of sampling dishes inspired by him at last night's fundraiser for an Asian American Journalists Association scholarship, thanks to our hostess Anupy Singla (author of the Indian Slow Cooker).
So far I've only flipped through Saran's new book, Masala Farm: Stories and Recipes from an Uncommon Life in the Country. But I'm very excited about what I've seen so far and am looking forward to reading it and trying out many of its dozens of recipes...maybe starting this weekend.