CHICAGO (Diya TV) — Two Indian American chefs have secured their spots as finalists for the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award for 2024, showcasing their culinary prowess and innovative contributions to the food industry.

Sujan Sarkar, the mastermind behind Chicago’s acclaimed Indienne, stands out as a top contender in the Great Lakes region. His culinary journey, spanning continents, reflects a dedication to excellence and a commitment to pushing culinary boundaries. From his early success with Rooh in San Francisco to the Michelin-starred Indienne in Chicago, Sarkar’s innovative flair has garnered widespread recognition.

Arvinder ‘Dickey’ Vilkhu, president and executive chef of Saffron Nola in New Orleans, has also left an indelible mark on the culinary landscape. With over four decades of experience, Vilkhu’s fusion of South Asian and Louisiana influences has earned him widespread acclaim, culminating in his recognition as a James Beard Award finalist.

The James Beard Foundation announced the nominees for the prestigious awards on April 3 during a live ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria in Washington D.C. Sarkar, representing the Great Lakes region, and Vilkhu, representing the Southwest, are among the finalists for the Best Chef category.

Winners of the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards will be celebrated at a gala ceremony on June 10, 2024, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Sujan Sarkar’s Culinary Journey:

Sarkar’s culinary journey began in a small town near Kolkata, where his deep-rooted appreciation for Indian cuisine took root. After honing his skills under renowned chefs internationally, including stints in London and Dubai, Sarkar made his mark in the United States with the launch of Rooh in San Francisco.

His culinary vision expanded to New York with the opening of Baar Baar, an Indian gastro bar, before finally making waves in Chicago with the acclaimed Indienne. Sarkar’s commitment to elevating Indian cuisine to new heights has earned him a nomination for the James Beard Award, cementing his status as a culinary trailblazer.

Arvinder Vilkhu’s Culinary Legacy:

Vilkhu’s journey in the food and beverage industry began over four decades ago, rooted in a passion for hospitality instilled at a young age. After establishing himself in esteemed establishments in India and New Orleans, Vilkhu transitioned to culinary entrepreneurship with the founding of Saffron Caterers.

His fusion of South Asian and Louisiana influences garnered widespread praise, leading to the establishment of Saffron Nola, a brick-and-mortar location that continues to delight diners with its unique flavors. Vilkhu’s dedication to culinary excellence has earned him recognition as a James Beard Award finalist, highlighting his enduring impact on the culinary world.