Food Network® star Maneet Chauhan never expected to live in Nashville one day. Nevertheless, the Chopped® judge and chef, 43, has thrived in Tennessee’s capital for five and a half years, four of them as president and founding partner of Morph Hospitality℠, which is responsible for Chauhan Ale & Masala House℠, Tànsuǒ℠, The Mockingbird℠, and Chaatable℠.
Before her stint in Music City, she lived and worked in New York City. The two locations, she says, have very different approaches to beauty and life in general. “Like any city, there's always a mix of people, but Nashville does have an amazing Southern flair to it, which I absolutely love. Nashville is a little bit more relaxed. It's a little bit less severe,” Chauhan said. “New York is always very precise, because we are all running around.”
And yet, despite not being in New York, her schedule is still very busy between restaurants, TV, and other in-person appearances. Although she doesn’t wear much makeup in her own kitchen, for broadcast segments, it’s a completely different story. And, even when cameras aren’t in view — Chauhan is an engaging, lively, and personable spirit. (In short: her excitement and warmth are not for show . . . even if her fake lashes are, on shoot days.)
In terms of her skincare and haircare regimens, Chauhan has continued to practice many beauty rituals from her childhood growing up in India. While college-inspired DIY skincare treatments take place monthly, Saturday night hair therapy is a weekly affair with her kids. The latter ritual isn't the only thing she’s inherited from her family: “Thanks to my mom, I've been blessed with great skin,” she says. “I used to always take it for granted.”
We caught up with the mom of two at the Charleston Wine + Food® festival to chat about going on-air (with and without her daughter), her motivational mantra, and what she teaches her kids when it comes to beauty. Keep reading to learn more.
Spotlyte: What is your morning skincare routine?
Maneet Chauhan: I wash my face. I make sure that I always do an eye cream, nowadays. I do a toner, a serum, a cream, and then a sunblock.
My friend’s sister has an amazing brand, VishaTM Skincare. She's a dermatologist. She sent me this entire range of products, and she's like, “I'm so proud of what you do and always in awe of what you're doing. This is what I do.” It was really sweet. And man, I got completely hooked on it.
Spotlyte: What’s it like to get your makeup done for the cameras?
MC: Usually for hair and makeup, it takes an hour or an hour and a half. I am OCD about my eyelashes. They're like, “What do you want?” I'm like, “Eyelashes!” They’re so dramatic.
Spotlyte: What’s in your everyday makeup bag?
MC: Unless I'm on TV, the only makeup I use is MAC® Kohl Power Eye Pencil in SmolderTM and Chanel® Rouge Coco® Gloss — just because I'm in the kitchen, and I really don't need makeup. Right now, I'm stuck on Chanel again. They’ve got this really metallic color, which I'm hooked on.
Spotlyte: How do you remove all of the on-camera cosmetics?MC: To take it off, what I usually do is start off with the Neutrogena® makeup remover wipes. I usually use three or four. Then, I use Neutrogena eye makeup remover. Next, I put on a lot of coconut oil, an Indian brand I grew up with. I massage it on my face, and then use one of those cotton pads to just take it off. Then, wash my face and do my night regimen.
Spotlyte: What’s your evening skincare routine?
MC: I wash off everything. I have to take it off, especially the eye makeup. There's an overnight mask from Bliss® — What a Melon® Overnight Mask — which is super hydrating. It's got this lovely smell and feeling. I go to sleep with that. It's really helped me a lot. That's my nighttime routine three times a week. The rest of the time, I just use an overnight serum with eucalyptus and vitamin C.
Spotlyte: What other beauty tips and tricks do you have?
MC: Growing up, every Saturday night, my mom used to make both my sister and me sit in front of her. [She’d use] hot coconut oil and massage it all over our hair, which used to be absolutely incredible. I think it's so nourishing. I do it with my kids now on Saturday nights, and leave it overnight (there has to be a fresh towel on the pillow if I leave it overnight) and wash it out the next morning. If I am tired, I just have a really hot towel, which I cover my head with, and I leave it for at least 10 to 15 minutes.
Spotlyte: Speaking of kids, do you think that either of your children will follow in your footsteps and be involved in the food industry?
MC: Who knows? My daughter is 8 and definitely showing interest in being on TV. She did one of the segments with me. [Now], anytime I ask, “Hey, Shugan, do you want to cook with me?” she cooks like she's on TV. Anytime I go to do Today In Nashvillesm, she's like, “How can you go without me? Like, come on. Hello, I am the important one.” She's the star.
Spotlyte: Is your daughter into makeup?
MC: She tries a little bit. She loves makeup, but we don't let her [wear it]. She's too young for it.
When I'm done with my shoot, I immediately go to the airport, catch my flight, and come home. If it's a Friday night, she stays up for me. Last time, she removed my makeup.
Spotlyte: What other beauty treatments do you love?
MC: A lot of the facials I do myself. Growing up in India, there are all of these masks and stuff. I do a lot of steaming with hot water. I make my own scrub, which is usually dried organic rose petals along with some rice. I just like the smell of rose petals and they are amazing. I powder the rice and then I add some dry orange peel in it. There’s vitamin C, which you get from the orange peels. It invigorates your skin.
Spotlyte: How did you learn to make DIY beauty products?
MC: When we were in college — in the dorms — all the girls were trying to do them. I also make a chickpea mask with turmeric and yogurt. Whenever I get time, which is very rare, I'm making one of my masks.
For hair, I do mehendi, which is henna, along with eggs. You get your package of henna powder and mix that with usually one egg. I do try to put some rosewater in it to help it — it really stinks — but your hair looks so amazing after. It's luxurious and beautiful! I do that once a month, if I am lucky enough.
Spotlyte: What's the best career advice that you've received, and who gave it to you?
MC: I literally get career advice every day. It's very important that I invite that from everybody. But, when I was young, I was trying to be a chef when everybody was being a doctor or an engineer, because those were the acceptable careers. My parents told me, “Do whatever you want, just make sure that you're the best at it.” That's been something that I keep on reminding myself every day: mediocrity is mediocrity. It isn't something that will get you far.
Spotlyte: Who's been your biggest cheerleader throughout your career and life?
MC: My older sister. Even when I would doubt myself, she'd be like, “Are you kidding me? Of course you are the person who would do this, right?”
My parents, absolutely. My husband, my kids, my team, who hooks me up with wine. [Wine is placed on the table.]
Spotlyte: Do you have a mantra?
MC: The first email address I got — on Hotmail® — my tagline was, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” That’s my mantra. Jump in the deep end and figure out how to go from there. It's worked for me.
Spotlyte: What’s the best example of how you’ve put your mantra into practice?
MC: We ventured into Nashville — five years, four restaurants, three breweries. You've got to make the best of whatever situation you find yourself in. I think that was the most important thing.
Spotlyte: What do you like to do in your spare time?
MC: I work out. I try to make sure that I have 10,000 steps every day. My Fitbit® is something that I can't live without. I am addicted to it.
I love watching Bollywood movies with the kids. I love watching because it's a way to remind them that this is where Mom and Dad are from. There are many classics that I absolutely love — Sholay® is a fan favorite.
Spotlyte: In addition to their culture, what do you teach your kids about beauty?
MC: My daughter is like, “Am I beautiful?” I keep on telling her that beauty's all in your actions. I cannot stress that enough. Beauty is in your actions. Beauty is in your soul. If you are a genuinely kind person, it just shines through. There is nothing external that you can do to hide what is not a nice soul. You may not conventionally be the most beautiful person out there, but if you have a kind soul, people will find you the most beautiful person.
Allergan® may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this article.