Chandra Ram

Editor, Plate Magazine
“I grew up with parents who were avid backyard gardeners, growing everything from strawberries, pumpkins, tomatoes and watermelons to the okra my father loved eating as a kid in India. Today, one of my favorite ways to cheer up during a chilly Chicago winter is to pull out my gardening notebook and start to plan what to grow on my deck. I’ll see what grew well last year and what plants took over the entire planter box, call Mom to get tips on how she gets so many tomatoes from her plants, and think about what wildcard veggie I want to try and grow this year. Come late spring, when it’s safe enough to plant outside without worrying about a late final freeze, I revel in the days spent hauling compost and dirt up to our roof deck, and gently tucking seedlings into the earth. To me, gardening is about eating the best produce, taking pride in your work, and participating in the change of seasons. It’s truly one of my favorite things to do.”
“As a young child, my grandmother had a garden in our backyard and while she was cooking, she would ask me to go pick jalapenos, tomatoes, and squash. That garden made a big impression on me and my life. I believe that is where my passion for food and fellowship developed. On Sundays our family would gather at my grandparents’ home to eat and laugh. I believe that no matter what happens in life there is no better feeling than gathering around the dinner table with your family and friends.”