Last week, Chai Pani Chef/Owner, Meherwan Irani, had the honor of cooking the State Department Luncheon for the official visit of the Indian delegation. Meherwan was personally invited by Vice President Harris to be the luncheon’s guest chef, representing the American Culinary Corps as part of the State Department’s Diplomatic Culinary Partnership. Three members of the Chai Pani culinary team joined Meherwan in D.C.: James Grogan of Asheville and Daniel Peach and Sahar Siddiqi of Atlanta/Decatur.

According to a U.S. State Department spokesperson, “The Diplomatic Culinary Partnership is an initiative launched by the Department of State and the James Beard Foundation with the goal of utilizing food, hospitality, and the dining experience as diplomatic tools to engage foreign dignitaries, bridge cultures, and strengthen relationships with civil society.”

Meherwan’s fully vegetarian menu (the first-ever in the history of State Luncheons or Dinners) included pani puri, spinach samosas, millet-lentil khichadi (paying homage to the UN’s International Year of Millets), mango halva + masala chai.

You can watch/read Secretary Antony Blinken’s full remarks at the luncheon HERE. This is what he had to say about Meherwan:

“And let me also acknowledge our James Beard-winning guest chef, Meherwan Irani, who is here with us today. And you should know that Meherwan credits his mother as his earliest culinary inspiration, and I think we’re all about to be very inspired by what she gave to him and he’s now about to give to us.”

Photo Credit: Official State Department Photographer James Pan