With Chef Cheetie Kumar
Cheetie Kumar is the chef/owner of Ajja, a new restaurant in Raleigh’s Five Points neighborhood that draws inspiration from the diverse foodways and cultures, vibrant spices, and cooking techniques of the Mediterranean, the Middle East and beyond.
An India- and Bronx-raised Southerner and musician, Cheetie earned two James Beard Foundation Award nominations (and five semifinalist nods) for “Best Chef: Southeast” for her multi-cultural menus that blended the flavors of South Asia and the surrounding regions with local agriculture at the beloved Garland, which closed in 2022. Ajja, opening spring 2023, will build on the legacy of Garland and continue telling the rich story of North Carolina’s growers, farmers and purveyors in a vibrant indoor-outdoor neighborhood restaurant.
Cheetie has been profiled in The New York Times, Southern Living and The Wall Street Journal, among many other national publications. She is active in food advocacy and serves on the board of the Independent Restaurant Coalition, the Southern Foodways Alliance and several North Carolina-based organizations.