She's the chef sharing the vegan and vegetarian love at an authentic family owned Indian restaurant in Southampton

Neha Jadav, head chef of highly acclaimed Padharo on East Street, talks cooking for her kids and fulfilling her culinary dreams in our weekly meet the chef column. 

What first inspired you to become a chef?

"A deep appreciation for plant-based ingredients and a desire to create flavourful, cruelty-free dishes. From the outset, it was a deep-rooted appreciation for the vibrancy and versatility of plant-based ingredients that set me on this path. The allure of creating innovative and delectable dishes without compromising on compassion became my driving force. The endless possibilities within the realm of vegetarian cuisine allowed me to express my creativity while promoting a sustainable and ethical approach to cooking."

Daily Echo: Some of the delights cooked up at Padharo in Southampton

What was the first meal you cooked for someone else?

"Kaju Paneer Curry, cooked for a family gathering at home."

What is your proudest career moment to date?

-"My biggest dream was fulfilled last year on August 18, when we had a huge inauguration at Padharo."

What is your signature dish?

"Our most popular dish is Vegan Chick’n Butter Masala, a delightful dish that has its roots in the rich and diverse tapestry of Indian cuisine. Also the Makhani Daal, which has a little more punch."

Daily Echo: Cooking up a storm at Padharo

What is your favourite dish currently on your menu?

Chilli Gobi and Chilli Milli Mogo is my favourite as it has a really good amount of spice, with some garlic naan.

What is your favourite meal to cook at home?

"South Indian breakfast for my kids as they enjoy it."

What do you like to drink with dinner?

A strawberry or lychee mocktail

What is your culinary guilty pleasure?

-I have a soft spot for Falooda dessert. There’s just something about it  that I can't resist. It's my go-to comfort food and a guilty pleasure that I indulge in from time to time.

Daily Echo: Some of the delights cooked up at Padharo in Southampton

Which key ingredient is always in your fridge?

"Fresh coriander, a staple with all types of curry and street food."

Which chef do you most admire?

"My inspiration is my mother who taught me how to cook from the beginning and helped me a lot with opening the restaurant."

What’s your career ambition?

"To spread and increase vegetarianism."

What do you think will be the next big restaurant trend?

-Pure vegan and vegetarian food as people are converting their lifestyle."

Daily Echo: Some of the delights cooked up at Padharo in Southampton