Is there anything better than the scent of rosemary? The sweet, resiny herb is redolent of pine, and historically, that powerful scent played a role in witchcraft, as it was thought to ward off sickness and protect against spells. The herb also showed up in ancient Greek and Roman weddings, where it was worn by the bride. The stiff leaves taste magical when stuffed under a roast chicken skin or stirred into a vegetable frittata.
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.