MEHERWAN IRANI is a chef and restaurateur changing the perception of Indian food in America through his growing restaurant and spice empire in two of the South’s most essential culinary cities. He is a leading voice in the industry’s conversation around diversity and cultural exchange. Meherwan is a three-time James Beard Award nominee for Best Chef: Southeast, in August 2018 he was named by TIME Magazine as one of the “31 People Changing The South” and in December 2018, he was deemed a “Southerner of the Year” by Southern Living.
He leads a team of more than 250 as CEO, Executive Chef and Founder of Chai Pani Restaurant Group that includes Chai Pani Asheville, Chai Pani Decatur, MG Road, Botiwalla, Buxton Hall Barbecue, and Spicewalla. His seventh business, Botiwalla Alpharetta, is slated to open spring 2019.
MARK ROUNDS is a discerning food connoisseur who is no stranger to local food competitions. Because of his travels throughout the world, he has developed an astute and insightful culinary palate. He personally loves to bake, and create exceptional desserts that offer a unique perspective on common dishes. Mark is a good friend of mine, and we have been opponents before in food competitions.
BLAINE GREENFIELD publishes BLAINESWORLD, an Asheville-based blog, and he hosts the BLAINESWORLD show on WPVM. He is also a board member for both the Dementia Society of America and Attic Salt, as well as a volunteer for SCORE, Mountain BizWorks, the Small Business Development Center at ABTech and The Mediation Center. In addition, he loves frequenting area food trucks and restaurants with Cynthia, his beautiful bride.