The Spice is Right

Last month we were in attendance at ArtsBash, a night of eating, drinking and art. When we attend events, we enjoy speaking with people, particularly chefs, to get their insight on the food they create. At ArtsBash, we met Navjot Arora, Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Chutney Masala in Irvington, NY. We’ve been to his restaurant a few times and have enjoyed our meals each time. We reached out to Chef Navjot after the event to learn more about him.

Navjot Arora, Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Chutney Masala in Irvington, NY.
Navjot Arora, Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Chutney Masala in Irvington, NY.

FP: How did you get your start with cooking?

NA: I come from a very food centric family and I got entrusted with making fresh mint chutney by picking mint, cilantro chilies etc. from the kitchen garden and using a stone mortar pestle.

FP: Mint chutney is one of our all-time favorite condiments!

We always enjoy our meals when we go to Chutney Masala. How did the concept come about?

NA: I wanted to bring authentic Indian cuisine to the suburban audience in a nice setting. I think we have achieved success as we are compared to great Indian restaurants in the city all the time.

FP: When we crave Indian food in Westchester, Chutney Masala is our pick!

What are some of your favorite meals to cook at home?

NA: I love trying new things at home. My daughters Chahat and Aarna are foodies in their own right and their honest and brutal feedback keeps me in line. I love making a spinach, mustard greens and broccoli rabe dish called sarson ka saag. This dish with loads of clarified butter is comfort food from my childhood.

FP: Chahat and Aarna are lucky to learn from you!

Name three chefs you would like to cook with in the same kitchen.

NA: Anthony Bourdain, Dan Barber and David Chang.

FP: A list of talented chefs for sure!

When you go out to eat, name some of your favorite places in Westchester or other areas you’ve visited.

NA: I lived in Flushing for a while and it is a foodie mecca! I had favorite restaurants for pho, lamb noodle soup, thai food, malaysian, cantonese, sichuan, korean barbque, etc.

In Westchester, ethnic restaurants are far and few.

FP: We definitely like eating in Flushing when we get the chance!

What are some of your guilty pleasures? We like to call them foodie pleasures, hence the name 🙂

NA: A lamb trotter soup and a good mac-n-cheese.

FP: Everyone enjoys a good mac-n-cheese!

What are some of your non-chef hobbies and interests? What do you like to do on your days off?

NA: I like to swim when I can. Reading magazines and watching TV. On days off, I like to spend quality time with the family.

FP: Thank you so much for your time. We wish you and Chutney Masala continued success! Next time, we’re in the mood for Indian food, we’ll make sure to stop by.

Have you checked out Chutney Masala? If so, let us know what you think!


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