Meherwan Irani

Three-time James Beard Award nominee Meherwan Irani is a storyteller as much as a chef, restaurateur and food entrepreneur. His story is one of great risk and commitment, radical creativity and success, all starting with a huge leap of faith to open his first restaurant, Chai Pani, in 2009.

Speaking Options

Recruitment & Retention

How organizations can build great teams that last, and how we’ve done it for nearly a decade.

The Importance of Company Culture

What does it mean and how do you articulate and implement it in a way that feels meaningful?

Inside out: Why should a dishwasher have any less access to information than the CEO? Structuring organizations differently.

What’s the reasoning behind transparency, and why does it matter? How a simple change in the way we share information and knowledge can make employees feel empowered and engaged.

Embracing the Change: How to create a work environment where people aren’t living in insecurity.

We all know that most people are naturally afraid of change. Why? Most change in real life is exciting and looked forward to, so why are people afraid when it happens in a company? How do we shift that perception and make change exciting?

Thinking Differently: Why best practices are the worst

If you keep doing what everyone wants you to do, you sound like everyone else. How do you break out of that cycle?

How to make it easy to be a customer

How to gain customer loyalty and make people instinctually return.

Making India cool, one restaurant at a time 

Just like there’s no European food in Europe, there’s no Indian food in India. The first time Meherwan had Indian food was when he came to America. He was shocked and he vowed to change that. The story of Chai Pani.

How well are you telling your story? Use your brand, culture, and your background in an engaging way.

No matter what your business is, you have to tell your story. Hear it from Meherwan‘s perspective. 

Selected Media


Coming soon!

About Meherwan

Meherwan Irani is a chef and restaurateur changing the perception of Indian food in America through his growing restaurant and spice empire in two of the South’s most essential culinary cities. He is a leading voice in the industry’s conversation around diversity and cultural exchange. In August 2018, Meherwan was named by TIME Magazine as one of the “31 People Changing The South” and is a four-time James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef: Southeast. In 2019, Meherwan won both the 2019 Georgia Restaurant Association Crystal of Excellence (GRACE) Diversity Leadership Award and the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association’s Faces of Diversity Award.

Meherwan leads a team of more than 300 as CEO, Executive Chef and Founder of Chai Pani Restaurant Group (CPRG) that includes Chai Pani Asheville, Chai Pani Decatur, Botiwalla Ponce City Market, Botiwalla Alpharetta, Buxton Hall Barbecue, and Spicewalla. His seventh business, Botiwalla Optimist Hall (Charlotte), is slated to open in 2020.

Meherwan grew up in Ahmednagar, in the midwestern state of Maharashtra in India, and he came to the U.S. at age 20. In 2009, he and his wife and business partner, Molly, introduced Asheville, North Carolina, to the colors, flavors and faces of India with Chai Pani

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