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A reluctant restaurateur’s tryst with culinary fame

Thalipith and pitla, a multigrain flatbread and besan curry


Asha Jhaveri, who runs ‘Swati’, is legendary among food writers, not just for the quality of her food, but for how hard it is to get any information from her. She avoids interviews and when I finally cornered her once, she soon deflated me by letting me ask long questions, which she answered with ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

Few books start with an endorsement from India’s richest man. And not just a polite, written-by-staff remark, but the heartfelt statement: “We are three generations of the Ambani family who cannot live without eating a meal from Swati at least once a week,” writes Mukesh Ambani at the start of A Culinary Journey of Hope and Joy, by Asha Jhaveri, who runs the legendary Mumbai restaurant ‘Swati’.

I discovered the book recently on what was, thanks

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