Photo of Chandra Ram
Photo of Chandra Ram

Chandra Ram

Title: Associate Editorial Director, Food

Location: Chicago, IL

Education: Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Loyola University Chicago
Certified Sommelier, Court of Master Sommeliers

Expertise: Cooking, Baking, Writing, Editing, Chefs, Restaurants

Experience: Chandra Ram is a James Beard- and IACP-nominated food writer, editor and cookbook author. She worked in restaurants for years before turning to food writing and has won multiple awards for her work, including more than a dozen Jesse H. Neal awards and the McAllister Editorial Fellowship.

Chandra has been cooking since she was old enough to help her mother in the kitchen, and parlayed her love of food into a career that keeps her busy between the stove and her desk.

As the associate editorial director for food, Chandra strategizes how to produce the tastiest recipes to help readers create delicious food in their home kitchens. She's worked in many different corners of the food world, from bartending at a French restaurant in London to running a catering business in Maine and consulting with restaurant owners on how to improve their menus all over the country.

Her writing has been featured in Food & Wine, Food52, Epicurious, Gravy, Kitchn, and Plate. She is a frequent speaker at food events and industry conferences, and an interview subject for podcasts and video programs.
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Tomato Lemon Rasam
Rating: Unrated
This rasam has the tangy flavor profile you expect from the South Indian favorite, but gets its punchy brightness from lemon juice stirred in at the end instead of the traditional tamarind. The broth may appear to be simple, but boasts great depth of flavor from warm spices like cumin and coriander and the blend of ginger, garlic and chiles mixed in, plus the fried curry leaves, turmeric and mustard seeds. The chopped cilantro added before serving add green herbal notes, especially as they meld into the warm broth. Rasam can be served as an accompaniment to rice or dosa or eaten on its own; it's especially soothing on a chilly night or when you are feeling sick.   
Blueberry Almond Yogurt Toast
Rating: Unrated
Yogurt toast is sometimes called custard toast, which offers a clue to how the simple mixture of yogurt, egg and syrup baked on top of a piece of toast beautifully mimics the texture and flavor of French toast or even a cheese Danish. It comes together in just a few minutes, making it an option even on busy mornings. Thick Greek-style yogurt works best here to achieve the creamy texture you want in the custard; use a flavored yogurt if you like but taste it before adding the maple syrup and cut down on the amount used if necessary so it isn't too sweet. If you don't have brioche, you can use challah or any other soft bread here; save the sturdy wholegrain sourdough for another use. And feel free to play around with the toppings as well; raspberries, strawberries, cranberries and other berries work nicely here, slice them if they are on the larger side. Or you can use thinly sliced bananas, peaches, pears, or figs, and further dress your yogurt toast with chocolate chips or dollops of peanut butter or chocolate-hazelnut spread. If you don't have an air fryer, you can make this toast in an oven or toaster oven; bake it in an oven preheated to 400°F for 10 to 15 minutes, keeping an eye on the toast in the last few minutes of cooking so that it doesn't get overly browned or burnt around the edges.
The collaborative dinner series is put together by seven Southern chefs of Indian and Sri Lankan descent.