America’s ‘First’ Celebrity Chef was an Indian Immigrant

America’s ‘First’ Celebrity Chef was an Indian Immigrant

February 12, 2021 0 By WFTV

Ranji Smile was an Indian immigrant from Karachi, who arrived in the US in 1899.

They called him ‘America’s First Celebrity Chef!’ and the ‘King of Curry Cooks.’

And that was for a good reason. He was known for his charm and incredible looks, but it is his culinary skills that made him more popular.

Writing for The Better India Divya Sethu says he ‘changed the culinary landscape of America.’

He was a young Indian Muslim immigrant in his 20s, and he took the country by storm with his delectable curries.

Ranji Smile—also referred to as Joe Ranji Smile or Prince Ranji Smile — is from Karachi and arrived first in London in the late 1800s.

There he worked for the Cecil Hotel, one of the largest hotels in Europe where Louis Sherry spots him and brings him to New York in 1899.

Louis Sherry was a prominent restaurant owner who ran Sherry’s in New York.

The New York Letter described him as having “clear dark skin, brilliant black eyes, smooth black hair, and the whitest of teeth.”

The publication says, “women [were] going wild over him”.

In response to the attraction, Ranji was quoted as saying, “If the women of America will but eat the food I prepare, they will be more beautiful than they as yet imagine. The eye will grow lustrous, the complexion will be yet so lovely, and the figure like unto those of our beautiful Indian women.”

“You take a seat at one of the dainty tables,” the journalist from the New York Letter wrote, “look over the India menu with a sort of fear and trembling of what’s to come, with a delightful uncertainty pervading your soul.”