On this episode, Priya talks to Chef Navin Hariprasad and his husband, Andrew Pettke. The two, along with their friend Sarah Hartshorne, formed team Mystikka Masala and won The Great Food Truck Race, Season 12!
Navin and Andrew open up about their relationship and their unique wedding (including a drag queen minister!) Navin also shares what drag means to him as well as how he fell in love with cooking. The two talk about their journey as restauranteurs, and what it was like to bring their Indian/Tex-Mex flare to The Great Food Truck Race. The two also share the experience of bringing Navin's drag alter ego, Mystikka Masala, into the competition, as well as the warm response and outpouring of support they received. Finally, Navin and Andrew play a rapid-fire round and unveil their social media habits on Instagram vs. Reality!
About the guests:
Chef Navin started off his career in Dallas at Parkland Hospital as a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. He quickly started noticing patients complaining about the lack of taste in foods and associated their lack of dietary compliance with aversions to healthier eating. He started educating patients on incorporating spices into their foods other than salt and encouraging patients to cook fresh at home. After earning his Master's in Public Health and being promoted to management, he saw a larger public health potential when an opening came up for a commercial kitchen in the Dallas Power & Light Building (DPL) in Downtown Dallas.
Andrew and Navin had already been doing social events for the DPL building and catering food for their events for several years and approached the owners about a “to-go” healthier Indian concept. The owner of the building was willing to give Navin a chance and that was the beginning of Navin’s journey into the restaurant world. Spice in the City was initially created as a to-go concept as a window that you would walk up to and order. After 1.5 years, Spice expanded into a full dining concept with an indoor and outdoor dining space and still provided to-go as an option. Spice has been open for over 5 years now and has also created several concepts over the years. Along with the restaurant, Chef Navin Catering has also had the privilege of catering numerous events throughout the past 5 years from Hollywood to Bollywood. Chef Navin was also featured on Guy’s Grocery Games “Spiciest” episode (Season 16, episode 2) in January 2018. You can find Navin on Facebook and Instagram.
Andrew Pettke’s background encompasses working at ESPN radio then branching out into the graphic design world and opening up a boutique ad agency, ANP Design Studio. He also co-owns Longhorn Photobooth with Sarah Hartshorne, an upscale in person photobooth concept with luxurious props and backdrops. Andrew and Sarah have known each other for 20 years, meeting in college in Austin and eventually working together in both ANP Design Studio and Longhorn Photobooth. Both Sarah and Andrew joined Spice in the City full time in 2016 with the expansion into full service. Andrew has plans to pursue comedy next in his career path. You can find Andrew on Facebook and Instagram.