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Roni Mazumdar and Chintan Pandya, the men behind the Unapologetic Foods empire, are revolutionizing the American perception of Indian cuisine. Their restaurant group, which includes Semma in New York’s West Village, is known for its bold regional flavors and unique dishes like goat kidneys and testicles. Mazumdar and Pandya have launched seven restaurants since 2017, with a focus on showcasing authentic Indian cuisine without compromise.

The journey of Mazumdar and Pandya is deeply personal, with Mazumdar coming to the United States from Kolkata as a middle school student, and Pandya immigrating in his 30s after working in hotels in Singapore. Their partnership has led to creating innovative restaurants that challenge the traditional notions of Indian food in the States. Despite facing challenges, including being the only Indian restaurant in the country with a Michelin star, Mazumdar and Pandya continue to push boundaries and introduce Americans to a new world of Indian cuisine.

The Unapologetic Foods founders have been lauded for their creativity and vision, with two of their restaurants making it onto the New York Times list of the 100 best restaurants in the city. They focus on showcasing regional Indian cuisine and using high-quality ingredients to create dishes that differ from the usual Indian restaurant fare. Mazumdar and Pandya believe in the power of authentic, regional cuisine to connect with diners in a meaningful way.

Winning a Michelin star for Semma was a significant achievement for Mazumdar and Pandya, marking them as the only Indian restaurant in the country with that accolade. The honor also brought with it a sense of responsibility to represent Indian cuisine at its best and maintain their core values despite newfound recognition. Mazumdar’s father’s perspective on finding purpose in life further motivated Mazumdar to continue his culinary journey with a sense of purpose and passion.

Despite their success, Mazumdar and Pandya remain humble and focused on their mission to change the way Americans think about Indian food. They have shied away from opening big-ticket restaurants and instead opened a 400-square foot fried chicken shop, Rowdy Rooster, to challenge traditional expectations of Indian cuisine. Their dedication to quality, authenticity, and creativity has set them apart in the culinary world.

The duo’s collaborative spirit and shared vision have allowed them to overcome challenges, including reservation bots and misconceptions about their restaurants. Their mutual respect and trust have propelled them forward in their quest to redefine Indian cuisine in the American culinary landscape. By staying true to their roots and taking risks, Mazumdar and Pandya continue to make waves in the industry and inspire others to think outside the naan.

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