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Because it’s strange and beautiful and hot, people from everywhere converge on Florida and they bring their cuisine and their traditions with them. The Zest celebrates the intersection of food and communities in the Sunshine State.

Season 9 finale: For chef Inder Suryawanshi, life's a beach

He discusses his journey from watching his mom cook over a wood stove in his native India, to becoming executive chef of JW Marriott Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa.

Listen to the episode

With the weather heating up and summer vacation so close we can almost taste it, let’s head to the beach for a sit-down with Chef Indrajit Suryawanshi. As executive chef of JW Marriott Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa, he oversees the resort’s main restaurants, Latitude 28° and The Deep End.

Chef Inder, as he’s known, grew up in Kundal, India. He learned to cook by watching his mom make dishes like butter chicken, eggplant curry and naan over a wood stove.

The Zest team met up with Chef Inder at the resort, which overlooks Clearwater Beach. The view from the suite was downright dreamy, and the Gulf of Mexico backdrop gets even more stunning when you head up to The Deep End rooftop restaurant. You can see photos on our Facebook and Instagram accounts @thezestpodcast.

In our conversation, Chef Inder explains how a sign—a literal sign!—led him to the hospitality industry and eventually to the United States. He also recalls his first time eating a cheeseburger in the U.S., and he shares what food he packs when he heads to the beach.

"I host a food podcast" is a great icebreaker at parties.