Sinus-clearing ginger root is famous for its immunity boosting powers as well as its ability to cleanse the palate and add zing to dense cakes or sauces. Prized by ancient Indian and Chinese cultures, it was used as early as 5,000 years ago as a cure for common ailments like stomach pain. Those early ancestors were onto something, as anyone who’s sipped ginger tea can attest to. The powdered version is a great way to heat up classic American fall dishes, such as pumpkin and apple pie.
In 2009, Meherwan Irani quit his day job in sales to open his first restaurant – Chai Pani, a unique Indian street food joint in downtown Asheville. Whether it was a midlife crisis or a stroke of genius is debatable. Since then, the self-taught chef has opened four restaurants, one bar, and now, Spicewalla. With four James Beard Award nominations for Best Chef in the Southeast under his belt, he’s finally confident this might just be working out. His restaurants have been written up in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, GQ, Food & Wine, Saveur, USA Today, and Bon Appétit, among others.