Charmain Sithappah was born and raised in Pietermaritzburg, capital city of the province of KwaZulu, South Africa. Her love of food and cooking began at an early age as she grew up in a restaurant environment where she was surrounded by chefs who specialized in authentic South African and Indian cuisines. Charmain’s fascination with food was further developed by her mother, who loved to cook and entertain family and friends. She helped her mother pick fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs from their own gardens and helped prepare delicious meals for the family. Her inspiration has been the seasonal, fresh ingredients that were so readily available in her own backyard garden.
Her adventurous spirit and quest for learning about the culture and foods of other countries has led her to travel to India, Burma, Sri Lanka, China, Europe, England, and Pakistan, The Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Canada and several others. She was so inspired by the aromas of the spices and flavors of the ethnic cuisines that she has incorporated and blended them into the foods of her native country to create her own unique style of cooking.
In 1983 she emigrated to the United States of America and decided to settle in New York where her fascination with food continued. Her guests were delighted with her cooking and encouraged her to start her own business. In the year, 2004 her entrepreneurial spirit and love for cooking led to her to start her own catering company, “The Seasoned Pot” as the sole owner and executive chef. She is becoming well known for her diverse and creative cooking skills and most of her business is generated by word of mouth when her customers rave about her food. Her dedication to seasonal, local and organic products and ingredients has made her very popular with her clients. She has a very appreciative and expanding list of well traveled and educated clientele which include the South African Consulate General, The South African Permanent Mission to the United Nations, Zambian Mission to the United Nations, The Riverside Church, The Desmond Tutu Foundation, South African Tourism, National Council of Women at U.N. Consulate General of Angola, Botswana Mission to the U.N., The Kingdom of Swaziland. The Harlem School of the Arts, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and many others. She has also catered a successful event for the African Studies Association at N.Y. University and Rutgers’s University which was held in the New York Times Building in 2008.
Charmain is also tapping into a niche in the market for home-style mouthwatering pickles and chutneys. She creates products of exceptional quality using only the best and freshest local and organic ingredients. She makes all her products without preservatives, chemicals or artificial flavors. She also creates beautiful gift baskets with unique African artwork for special orders.