Meherwan Irani

Meherwan Irani is a chef and restaurateur changing the perception of Indian food in America through his growing restaurant and spice empire in the South’s most essential culinary cities. He is a leading voice in the industry’s conversation around diversity and cultural exchange. Meherwan was named by TIME Magazine as one of the “31 People Changing The South” and is a five-time James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef: Southeast.

Meherwan leads a team of more than 300 as Founder, Chef and CEO of Chai Pani Restaurant Group that includes Chai Pani (Asheville and Decatur), Botiwalla (Atlanta and Charlotte), Buxton Hall Barbecue, Buxton Chicken Palace, Nani’s Piri Piri Chicken (Asheville and Atlanta), and Spicewalla.

Meherwan grew up in Ahmednagar, in the midwestern state of Maharashtra in India, and he came to the U.S. at age 20. In 2009, he and his wife and business partner, Molly, introduced Asheville, North Carolina, to the colors, flavors and faces of India with Chai Pani.