In this episode, we interview Meherwan Irani, the CEO, Executive Chef, and Founder of the Chai Pani Restaurant Group.

Here’s What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • Chai Pani is a context-based business model that focuses on why instead of the how
  • Why it’s important to just let your team come up with better ideas
  • Who Meherwan considers “carriers,” and why they are pivotal in allowing a business to grow and expand
  • The origins of the name Chai Pani
  • How and why the team at Chai Pani focuses on the little thing

Enjoyed this interview? We think you might also dig this episode with local chef and restauranteur, John Fleer.

Show Notes

About Meherwan Irani

Meherwan Irani is a chef and restaurateur changing the perception of Indian food in America through his growing restaurant and spice empire in the South’s most essential culinary cities. He is a leading voice in the industry’s conversation around diversity and cultural exchange. Meherwan was named by TIME Magazine as one of the “31 People Changing The South” and is a five-time James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef: Southeast.

Meherwan leads a team of more than 300 as Founder, Chef, and CEO of Chai Pani Restaurant Group that includes Chai Pani Asheville, Chai Pani Decatur, Botiwalla Ponce City Market, Botiwalla Charlotte, Buxton Hall Barbecue, Nani’s Rotisserie Chicken, and Spicewalla.

Meherwan grew up in Ahmednagar, in the midwestern state of Maharashtra in India, and he came to the U.S. at age 20. In 2009, he and his wife and business partner, Molly, introduced Asheville, North Carolina, to the colors, flavors, and faces of India with Chai Pani.


We started growing by design, the more amazing people we have, the more opportunities we have for growth” – Meherwan

To learn more about Jawbreaking, check out the links below:

Chef Merherwan’s IG

Spicwalla IG

Chai Pani IG

Buxton Hall Barbecue 

Nani’s Rotisserie Chicken


  • Elliot Moss is Merherwan’s business partner and dad at the delicious, Buxton Hall Barbecue.

Books and Media that Inspire


Music by Commonwealth Choir