Chefs

- MAY FRIDEL, Passion for Spices
May Fridel

Appearances at The Summit Wine & Food 2013:

A Passion for Spices, A Passion for Life (Sunday, 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm) A bit of interesting culinary history: In the middle of the third century BC, Alexander the Great invaded India. As a consequence, the Greeks (and the rest of Mediterranean Europe shortly afterwards) became acquainted with the great spices of India.
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Biography

I was born in the Indian state of Kerala, locally known as "God's Own Country" and named by National Geographic Traveler as one of the "ten paradises in the world" because of its natural beauty, tropical climate and varied topography. In Kerala, recognized as the spice center of the world, my family are spice merchants of Syrian Christian descent.

Growing up in India, I was always fascinated by the diversity of cultures in America and had an American Dream of my own: to come to the United States and build my life here. To prepare, I studied Mathematics and Computer Science (ultimately, earning a Master's Degree). I was hired as as a knowledge engineer, brought to the United States and became an executive in the financial industry. Throughout my professional endeavors, I maintained my fascination with cultural diversity always centered around food, particularly the spices associated with my family and its spice estates.

Coming from a tradition where fresh foods are prepared in seasonally appropriate, wholesome and gourmet manners, I wanted to share that wisdom with my friends in the West. In search of different cuisines, I took all possible cooking classes, some of which were hands-on training sessions with well-known chefs. My son, Matthew, has food allergy issues and after I realized that processed foods were the root cause of his health issues, I researched and endeavored to make all food in a non-processed way. As a result, I have seen a significant improvement in his health and I am thrilled that he can lead a very active and normal life without any asthma medication.

I share my culinary wisdom through classes at Whole Foods and Williams' Sonoma, through community events and fundraisers, through summer cooking camps and on a daily basis with my family, especially my husband Frank and my son Matthew, with the many friends I have made in the last 20+ years in the United States.

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