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Saran is a native of New Delhi, India who was raised
on traditional Indian cooking. He is a passionate and
inventive cooking teacher as well as a sort of unofficial
ambassador of Indian culture; wherever he goes (in India,
Europe and the United States) he finds himself teaching
people - colleagues in classes and jobs, strangers in
airports and on the street - to love the food and culture
of his native country.
Saran is a caterer, cooking teacher and food consultant.
Suvir studied music, fine arts and graphic design in
Bombay and then moved to New York City in 1993 to continue
those studies at The School of Visual Arts. In New York
he found himself once more assuming his role of cultural
ambassador, teaching an appreciation of Indian cooking
and culture just as he had done in his elementary school.
So when co-workers at Bergdorf Goodman, where he worked
as a buyer for home furnishings, took an interest in
the foods he was eating, he began bringing food in for
partner, Chuck Edwards, and he also entertained most
each night, at their home in Greenwich Village. Saran
would cook after working a rigorous day, cooking was
meditative to him. Chuck was and remains his muse and
patient taster. It was for Chuck that Saran cooked his
first non-vegetarian dish. It's success made him try
cooking more with meats. Soon, it was the challenge
of cooking something without tasting that made him love
cooking meats completely. His colleagues and friends
fell in love with the food. It was, they said, the best
Indian food they had ever eaten: it wasn't too hot;
it had a nice balance of spices; it was comforting;
the taste was unusually delicate. Inevitably someone
asked him to cater a party and then someone else and
eventually he gave up his other work and concentrated
on catering and teaching Indian cooking.
1997 Suvir joined the staff of the Department of Food
and Nutrition at New York University's Professional
Development and Continuing Education Program where he
currently teaches Indian cooking. These classes have
been enormously popular and were listed in a recent
issue of New York Magazine (Schools for Scampi,
September 2000) as the most popular cooking classes
offered by New York University. Suvir also made New
York Magazine's list of the top forty caterers in the
country (Dish on the Top Forty Caterers, February
1999); his orange-mango soufflé with candied
mango peel and pomegranate seeds was featured on the
cover of that issue.
now owns a catering and consulting business Rasoi, The
Indian Kitchen. Rasoi lists among its clients the Asia
Society, Carnegie Hall, the World Music Institute and
New York University. (Suvir catered an event for the
Asia Society in 1997 celebrating India's 50th year of
independence from the British for which guests paid
several thousand dollars per table.) Suvir's catering
and cooking classes have been favorably reviewed in
a variety of publications in addition to New York Magazine
including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times
and US News.
is on the editorial team of Food Arts Magazine as contributing
authority for Indian food. His recipes and work have
also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times
and US News World Report. Suvir is director of marketing
for the Clubhouse Group that has opened restaurants
in Chicago, Los Angeles and Atlanta, and will open two
more restaurants this year in Dallas and Columbus, Ohio.
was featured in an article on the hottest caterers in
New York, in New York Magazine . . .
Story - New York's Best Caterers
When the Music Festival of India celebrated India's
fiftieth year of independence at Carnegie Hall, Saran
reproduced Indian percussion instruments out of lentils
and floated them in bowls of vegetable soup. A palate-cleanser
was a tropical-juice concoction from a recipe written
in Arabic that he noticed in a miniature painting
from the seventeenth century.
runs the show:
Saran was born in New Delhi and studied graphic design
in Bombay. He worked as a store manager at the Metropolitan
Museum, and then was briefly a buyer for Bergdorf
Goodman's home furnishings. All the while, he was
hosting lots of parties at his West Village apartment.
When he was growing up, Savan's family had a chef
who'd come with his grandmother's dowry. "I used
to keep a diary since I was 7 years old on how he
cooked," Savan says. He's been catering for three
"People have not had the right exposure to Indian
food," says Savan. "Taxi drivers started
most of the restaurants here." The dessert at
Savan's Carnegie Hall dinner was orange-and-mango
souffles stuffed inside hollowed-out oranges. At one
event at Second Avenue's Foundry Theater, the centerpieces
were heaps of rice. On top of each mound was a depression
filled with a different spice. "There were no
table numbers," Saran recalls. "People had
to ask each other which spice was, say, lavender to
find their tables." Saran likes to substitute
yogurt for butter in a lot of his cooking. He also
totes a mini tandoor oven around with him to jobs.
Waiters wearing paisley shawls.
Betsy von Furstenberg hosted a fund-raising dinner
at her home for thirty people. "She's proud of
her own Indian cooking," Saran says, noting that
after her guests sampled his chicken breast with apricot-and-plum
sauce, Von Furstenberg joked, "You've ruined
it for me. I can't have these people over again and
cook Indian food."
Cocktails from $40 per person (including tandoori
hors d'oeuvre); three-course dinners from $75. Minimum
food cost, $600; dinner parties for 4 to 350 persons;
cocktails to 500.
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