167 West 12th Street
New York, NY 10011
Chef/restaurateur Geeta Bansal, owner of Clay Oven in Irvine, has been invited by the prestigious James Beard House in NYC to prepare a dinner featuring her modernized version of Indian cuisine. She will join such luminaries as Nobu Matsuhisa, Wolfgang Puck, and Emeril Lagasse in taking the reins of the kitchen of the famous Greenwich Village brownstone to share her craft.
Tickets are $170 ($130 for James Beard members) for the 5-course dinner that will be served on Saturday, September 27. The evening will begin with wine and hors d’oeuvres at 7 p.m. followed by dinner at 8 p.m.
Born and raised in Delhi, India, she grew up in a privileged Indian household where formal entertaining for local and international visitors was an everyday event. Her entree into the restaurant business occurred while she was earning her Ph.D. at Rutgers University where she met her future husband, Praveen, a restaurateur.
Bansal’s decision to become a chef came at a steep price for in India preparing food is a job performed by domestic staff not someone who hails from a respected family of exalted stature. She was issued an ultimatum: give up her newfound passion or be ostracized from her family. She made the ultimate sacrifice and chose to follow her dream. Today, she, Praveen, and son Tarun run the restaurant that has earned glowing notices and last year’s Golden Foodie Award as Best Indian Cuisine.
In addition to running Clay Oven, Bansal also travels the globe attending international food conferences and meeting with some of the world’s finest chefs and personalities (i.e., Joel Robuchon, Alice Waters, Pierre Gagnaire). She enjoys learning from them and sharing their stories on her blog “Gastronome Geeta: Conversations About Food Travel and Life” (http://chefgeeta.wordpress.com/) and regular column in examiner.com.
The James Beard House and its coveted annual awards considered to be the “Oscars of the food world” — are well known among foodies and those in the restaurant industry. Julia Child was instrumental in establishing the House as an homage to Beard, an American cookbook author, teacher, syndicated columnist, and television personality who continues to serve as an inspiration to generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts.
As chef/owner of Clay Oven, Bansal incorporates the changing colors, flavors, and aromas of each season into the Clay Oven’s rotating menus. She is involved in a number of nonprofits and, as a cancer survivor, says that her passion for cooking helped her triumph over the disease and live each day with gratitude and exuberance. The restaurant is located at 15435 Jeffrey Road, Irvine, CA 92618. Visit www.clayovenirvine.com. Call (949)-552-2851 for more information.