Meet the Chef: Asha Gomez & Her Two Souths

As an executive chef, cookbook author, culinary teacher and a devoted mother, Asha Gomez is well-practiced at straddling worlds in more ways than one. This Kerala, India-born chef has lived in the U.S. since she was a teenager. In that time, she's become one of the South's most noted chefs, introducing many to the complexities and elevated flavors of Kerala's cuisine through her cookbooks, restaurants and online video series.

Asha Gomez launched her first restaurant, Cardamom Hill, in January 2012 in Atlanta. It received praising reviews, and was named one of Bon Appetit’s 2012’s 50 Best New Restaurants, was on the 2013 James Beard Semi-Finalist List of 20 Best New Restaurants, and one of Southern Living’s 5 Best Restaurants in the South. Asha was also named one of the 2013/2014 Food & Wine Magazine Best New Chef - People’s Choice semi-finalists.

Chef Asha Gomez with her Weeknight Fancy Chicken and Green Bean Verraka

The acclaim universally acknowledged Asha’s pioneering spirit for opening a finer dining venture that focuses on one region of India, a rarity in the U.S. Her Kerala fried chicken, Cardamom Hill’s signature, was voted by Fox Television Network as one of the ten best fried chicken dishes in the country and has received national and international acclaim. The success lead Asha to open a new culinary event studio called “The Third Space” in the summer of 2013, and in August 2014, she opened Spice to Table, a fast-casual Indian pattiserie that has already garnered national and local acclaim including Zagat's 12 hottest Brunch places in the US. In February 2015, Spice To Table was selected by Alan Richman as # 16 in GQ Magazine's yearly “25 best new restaurants in America award”.

Her first cookbook: “My Two Souths”, with Running Press (Perseus Books) launched Fall of 2016 and received rave reviews, as well as a James Beard nomination for a media award in the American Cooking category. Currently, Asha is creating an online cooking class video series called Curry & Cornbread and a tea product line, Dyad Tea & Spice. In her spare time she is passionate about her advocacy work as a CARE Global Ambassador as well as raising her 10 year-old son Ethan.

Asha joined us in the test kitchen, preparing her Weeknight Fancy Chicken & Rice with Green Bean Verakka, both of which are adapted from "My Two Souths". A twist on the comfort classic chicken-and-rice dinner, this easy-to-cook dish is punctuated with fragrant, traditional spices. Green beans sprinkled on top add crunch and brightness to this family-favorite.

Our interview with Asha is below.

Chef Asha Gomez's Weeknight Fancy Chicken and Green Bean Verraka

What are your first memories of cooking?

Who shaped your love of cooking?

Where do you find inspiration for your recipes?

What is the most challenging part of your job?

What is the best thing you've ever eaten?

What is your favorite food indulgence?

Who is your favorite Southern chef?

What charities do you love and support?

What is the best part about your job?

Follow Asha Gomez on Instagram to keep up with her culinary adventures!