With Ankur Vaidya, 34, elected as president, the tristate Federation of Indian Associations — which organizes the India Day parade New York — has got its youngest
ever team of officials.
“The executive committee consists of people in the 30s or 40s.
Only one person is over 50,” Vaidya, an engineer and businessman, said.
The new committee has plans to revamp the organization and
also the parade, which the largest of its kind in the United States.
“The parade will be a two-day event with a convention show-
casing the achievements of India, the day before the parade in
Manhattan,” Vaidya said. “Next year the dates will be August 16
and 17. The convention will be in New Jersey as it has a large
Indian population. There will be no events after the parade as is
customary. Already people from as far as Toronto have requested
to join the parade and we plan to bring them too. People from
states like Georgia are also expected. There is no comparable
event in the US for the Indian community with such a large par-
Another FIA initiative, the Dance Pe Chance competition will
be held February 15. The organization now also plans to organize
health fairs, job fairs and will take up the community’s issues in
Vaidya, who started as a volunteer in the FIA, has been part of
the executive committee for the past two years.
The other members in the new executive committee are: Anand
Patel, Srujal Parikh, Nishil Parikh, Chhavi Singh, and Alok
The new officers will take charge from January 1, 2014, and will
be sworn in during the FIA’s Indian Republic Day celebrations.
The 43-year-old organization has been organizing the India
Day Parade in Manhattan for the last 33 years.
ARTHUR J PAIS
Rohini Dey, the new trustee of the James Beard Foundation that awards the best chefs and food writers in America, would like to see a concerted effort by Indian restaurant owners and
chefs to make Indian food win more
At last week’s Varli Food Festival held at
the Indian consulate in New York, Dey said
she had sampled the cuisine of at least 24
countries — as part of her World Bank stint
and her own travels — but found no cuisine
that had the depth and breadth of Indian
The New Delhi-raised entrepreneur has
made America her home for nearly two
decades. She is the owner of two Vermillion
restaurants in Chicago and New York, and
has written on food in publications like the
She did not mention it, but it is her efforts
that made the James Beard Foundation
hold for the first time India-related dinner
events in its historic mansion in the city
with, Vermillion chefs.
Addressing over 200 invitees — including
top chefs like Hemant Mathur (of the
Michelin-starred Tulsi restaurant) and the
owners and chefs of high-profile restaurants like the Michelin-starred Junoon —
Dey said she could not understand why
respected food guides like Michelin have
just a handful of Indian restaurants among
dozens of starred restaurants in cities like
London, Paris, New York and Hong Kong.
She said she would like to see Indian
chefs publicize Indian food the same way
Marcus ‘Joar’ Samuelsson gave a higher
profile to Scandanavian food in America,
and chef Nobu did to Japanese cuisine in
She was glad, Dey told India Abroad, to
see Indian chefs competing in the national-
ly televised cookout shows and also produc-
ing cookbooks published by reputed com-
From next year, India Day
parade to be two-day affair
Ankur Viadya, 34, is the FIA’s youngest ever
Consul General Dnyaneshwar Mulay Rohini Dey Chef Hemant Mathur Varli Singh
Varli Food Festival highlights depth of Indian cuisine
panies, but more needs to be done.
Varli Singh, New York businesswoman who pub-lishes the Varli magazine devoted to Indian food,
has also produced the Varli Celebrity Cookbook, a
booklet of recipes from some of the best known
Indian chefs in North America and India, including Sanjeev Kapoor, Vikas Khana, Maneet
Chauhan, Hemant Mathur, and Vikram Vij.
The Varli Food Festival brought together a mixed
list of guests across ethnicities, including Emily
Shah, the newly crowned Miss New Jersey, and
author and New York University professor Suketu
India is a country of 1.2 billion people and 1.2 billion ideas, and one of those ideas is food, said
Consul General Dnyaneshwar M Mulay. He quoted
a humorous Sanskrit couplet which said that at a
wedding, the parents of the bride and bridegroom
have their own expectations for the couple and the
man and woman also have expectations from each
other, but the guests only contemplate the dinner
Indian food, Consul General Mulay added, is
The chefs, who had brought very traditional
Indian dishes including Rasam and fusion dishes
including a raw fish dish with coconut chutney-like
dressing, would not have agreed more.
Miss New Jersey Emily
Shah at the event.
PHOTOGRAPHS: PARESH GANDHI