United States Chef
Devaki Das Profile
Every story has to begin somewhere and so it is that mine began on the streets of Mumbai, India. However, unlike a rolling stone I have gathered plenty of moss.
My story, though begins in one place, has evolved through time and geography so I can no longer be identified by just my beginnings but rather by every place that has touched me, moved me and changed me through the years.
For me, those places have included beautiful Sydney, the kampongs of Jakarta, sweaty summers of Singapore and the rolling hills of Virginia, USA.
Through it all, food punctuates my life! I am forever on a quest to find the best eats wherever I am - a fine dining restaurant, a hole-in-the-wall place or roadside eateries - always returning to my own home kitchen.
With my food blog, www.weavethousandflavors.com, I chronicle my stories, adventures and misadventures about food, life and everything in between.
Every one of the recipes featured have been personally prepared in my kitchen.They continue to grace my dinner table where, in the company of family and friends, they warm my soul.
I welcome your thoughts and look forward to learning and sharing the love of great food & the art of cooking together!
I took my first steps in the kitchen at age 9. The first dish I ever prepared was a vegetable pilaf with very caramelized onions (a gentler term for burnt). I come from a family of accomplished cooks and discerning tastes - my grandparents and my parents.
For years to come, my parents stoically bore the onslaught of all my trials and tribulations with food. Thanks to their very honest criticism and encouragement to experiment with diverse cuisines, my palette matured & I developed an understanding of authentic cuisines from around the world.
Matt Kramer in the March 2009 publication of Wine Spectator, sums it up best - "This is why the business of 'authentic' is so important. It sets a benchmark; it establishes a common cultural vocabulary of 'good'. And it defines local culture. Mind you, 'authentic' is not fossilization. Instead, it is a bedrock commitment to deliver the 'true' goodness that created the reputation of the product to begin with".
Though I have never formally attended culinary school ( I received my degrees in Architecture & Urban Design), it's what I strive for everyday. In the art of cooking, I am self-taught and home schooled.
Somewhere back in 1994, I was inspired to write a book on the dying art of authentic Jain and Gujarati cooking – Gujarat Nu Jaman , food from Gujarat, India where the majority of the population has been vegetarian for over 3000 years.
When Gujarat Nu Jaman was first published in India in 1996 & republished in 2002 (in hardcover), I naturally dedicated it to the one person who was the source of inspiration and most of the recipes - my grandmother. I am very glad I did this because in the Gujarat earthquake of 2001 so much was lost - knowledge & life.
Everyday I learn more - from culinary masters, to the often silent and unknown masters who grace street corners, remote villages & everyday home kitchens. Of this I am certain, knowledge, talent and expertise can be found from grandiose to the humblest of surroundings.
So here I am many decades later - with an architectural education, love, marriage, career & kids, that I recognize the need to write about the one thing that has been with me through it all - a great passion for great food and an eternal search for tribe.