East Is East and the West Is Loving It

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In the year that Baroda-born and US-educated Venkatraman Ramakrishnan won a Nobel Prize for Chemistry, a trio of Indians have become popular Stateside for their socio-cultural ingenuity. There’s Mother Teresa, the adopted Indian Nobel Prize awardee, who will headline the US Postal Service’s 2010 stamp programme. Vijay Iyer, a Rochester-born Indian American, has become one of the most acclaimed jazz musicians of 2009. His album, Historicity, was one of the best-reviewed jazz albums of the year, elevating him into territory inhabited by jazz-fathers John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong.

Jehangir Mehta, a Mumbai-born chef, competed on the popular TV show Iron Chef, where his apple-soya-caramel skewers wowed the big daddy of cook-offs, Masaharu Morimoto. Last October, Mehta starred on the Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef, where food writer Jeffrey Steingarten said his dishes were educational and had the best flavour combinations.

Food and music aren’t usual pravasi arenas of excellence, but then change has come to America.