2021 Denver Food + Wine Festival

Explore The CHEFS, BAKERS + beverage pros

Charles Mani
Mile High Tikka Express

Chef Charles Mani was born and trained in Chennai, India, but it was not until his arrival in New York City that he was afforded the opportunity to cook Indian cuisine professionally. Arriving in America with only $100 to his name, Charles worked his way through kitchens in Manhattan until landing a head chef position at New York’s critically acclaimed Babu Ji. Given the ability to create his own modern Indian menu items using French techniques, he was featured in the New York Times, lauding him for his attentiveness to fresh, seasonal ingredients and for infusing modern flair into classic Indian cuisine.

Charles left Babu Ji to become the Executive Chef at Badshah New York, where he transformed Indian street food into casual fine dining and gained notoriety for his style of tandoori cooking. His unique brand of Indian cuisine is notably lighter than expected as he substitutes heavy ingredients like butter and cream for cleaner, healthier alternatives. The majority of Charles’ dishes are vegan and/or gluten-free, which allows diners with food aversions and sensitivities to enjoy many items on his menu.

In 2021 Charles opened Urban Village Grill, a modern Indian restaurant in Lone Tree, Colorado, and in 2023, he opened Mile High Tikka Express, a food truck serving Indian fusion fare with a modern twist. 

Charles Mani

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