The “untrained” celebrity chef with seven fine-dine restaurants from Delhi to London – Meet Ritu Dalmia

From running her family business to taking a leap of faith to open her very own restaurant, Dalmia has come a long way. With no formal culinary education, she is now the boss lady of seven restaurants and author of two books.

Despite having won several accolades for her work, there is not an ounce of vanity in her. “I never believe I am successful because, when you let the ground beneath your feet slip, you fall. I have made many mistakes during my journey and I have learnt from them. I will continue to make mistakes and learn from them,” says a humble Dalmia.

The interest in cooking started early on in her childhood when she made her first dish at the age of nine. “It was macaroni with baked beans and I made that from a Tarla Dalal recipe,” recalls Dalmia. In 1993, she decided to open her own restaurant Mezzaluna in the upmarket Hauz Khas village in South Delhi which was failed miserably. But, this didn’t stop Dalmia from pursuing her passion.

She moved to London to open her second restaurant Vama with her partner Andy Verma, which fared well. “In 2000, when the restaurant was doing well and I was settled, I moved back to India,” she says.  Then she decided to open Diva, an Italian restaurant in Delhi. This time though she got it right and all her early failures were behind her.

For her, food is an expression of generosity of the heart and there is nothing more satisfying than hearing a happy customer tell her that she made her evening. She is happiest when she is cooking or travelling collecting happy food memories across the world.

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