Ritu Dalmia

Birthday: 1973

Ritu Dalmia was born in 1973. She is an Indian Restauranteur as well as a chef. She owns six Restaurants in Delhi, India. She established Diva, an Italian Restaurant, quite popular in Delhi. She has hosted TV shows on cooking like “Italian Khana” and “Travelling Diva”.

Ritu always had a love for Food and Cooking. Being a Marwari, she always dreamed of becoming a Business Tycoon or an Industrialist. She was born in Kolkata. She joined her father's Marble Stone Business when she was just sixteen. She went to Italy for business purpose and developed a liking for Italian food. She soon started trying out Italian recipes. When she came back to Delhi, she had a bad experience with Italian food. She decided to showcase her cooking skills.

In 1993, she opened Mezzaluna, an Italian Restaurant, in Hauz Khas Village in Delhi. She opened it with the 5 lakh rupees, which she had saved when working for Natwar Dalmia, her father. It specialized in Mediterranean cuisine.  However, she had to face numerous challenges. The exotic ingredients she required were not readily available in the city. Getting a license was difficult as well. Her Italian friends did not like her meal as well. She soon realized that she did not know enough, and then she traveled all over Italy, tasting food, understanding ingredients, observing techniques, and carrying back with her herbs, pasta, and spices to India. Nothing worked and soon she shut down Mezzaluna in 1996.

Ritu was quite disheartened by her failure and decided to run away to London. She struggled a lot in London for the first two months, with hardly enough money to pay grocery bills. Soon, she opened an Indian Dining Restaurant called Vama and learned a lot about restaurant business as well as food. She got exposure to meet people from every corner of the world in Vama. Vama was a great success.  But, Ritu started missing her home and sold her shares in 2000. She returned to Delhi and opened an Italian Restaurant Diva with partner Gita Bhalla in the posh area of Greater Kailash II.

Diva is a professional mix of Mezzaluna and Vama. The restaurant is unique and moves away from Paneer and Chana to a greater understanding of vegetarian food. Ritu showcases everyday vegetables like Pumpkin and Eggplant to make her food more delicious and exciting. It somehow worked and today they are the best selling recipes in all her restaurants. She did not give up until it worked.

Ritu owns a cafe in Chanakyapuri, Latitude 28 at Khan Market, Diva Piccola at Hauz Khas and more, all in Delhi. In 2007, she hosted Italian Khana on the channel NDTV Good Times. It was shot in Italy, and soon she released her book based on it. The show ran until 2010 and won many awards. She also became a consulting chef at a few restaurants. She won the Order of the Star Italian Solidarity in Italy in 2011. She had published many books on food. Travelling Diva is her show that has recipes from all around the world.

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