'Chopped All-Stars' Maneet Chauhan aims to make Indian food more accessible in Nashville

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Visiting a remote village near Manipal, India, Maneet Chauhan delights in her homeland.

"We are driving and there will be a cow, a rickshaw, some goats, some dogs," she tells Zap2it. "It is like a video game. It just adds to the wonderful, wonderful chaos of the place."

Her 18-month-old daughter is with her, and Chauhan is training herself to do what parents must around toddlers.

"She is starting to have a personality of her own, and they have to emulate whatever you are doing," Chauhan says. "I have to control my language -- no kitchen language."

Chef Chauhan is familiar to Food Network viewers of "Chopped." She's on "Chopped All-Stars," which launches a new season Sunday, April 7.

After years of working in fine restaurants in Chicago and New York, Chauhan is opening her first restaurant, a microbrewery and gastropub with an Indian flair.

"Everybody tries so hard to pair wines with Indian food, and it has never been a natural marriage," she says. "I really thought this could be an interesting marriage. Beer is such an integral part of the Indian culture."

Chauhan aims to make Indian food more accessible and picked Nashville to open her restaurant.

"Nashville is coming up to be an amazing foodie city," Chauhan says. "A lot of chefs are going there. A couple of times The New York Times said it's one of the happening places to dine, and while I was in the process of figuring out where to open a place, I went down to see the city, and I fell in love with it.

"Even the TSA agents are so nice," she says. "I am not used to people being so nice. I thought, 'I could do this.' That is basically how it started, and I went over there. and it just worked out and fell into place."
Photo/Video credit: Food Network
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