Priyanka Chopra Jonas on a mission to change how Americans think of South Asian culture

Priyanka Chopra Jonas is on a mission to change the way Americans think about South Asian culture.
In March 2021, the actress and mother, who is married to singer Nick Jonas, opened SONA, a high-end Indian restaurant in New York City, with her business partner Maneesh Goyal. The menu features a variety of dishes from India including Punjabi Chicken Salad, Bombay Chicken Baida Roti, Rajasthani Lamb and more.
MORE: Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra welcome little girl home after more than 100 days in intensive care
ADVERTISEMENT
"I just want to revolutionize South Asian culture in America. I also don't think there is a culture in the States of engaging with South Asian food in a luxurious way," Chopra Jonas told Good Morning America.
"It's not from a specific region of India. Because I grew up in several parts of India. So that was very important to me, to have the classics that you're used to. But also truffle eggs, you know? Like truffle dosas," she added. "But at the same time you have butter chicken that comes from the north."
The restaurant is not only a dream of many years for Chopra Jonas, but also for her friend and co-founder Goyal. His family settled in Dallas two months after his birth. Goyal's father was a young Indian immigrant at the time.
MORE: Priyanka Chopra Jonas' new restaurant SONA offers 'timeless Indian cuisine in the heart of NYC'
"He looked around and realized there wasn't a single Indian restaurant in all of Texas," Goyal said. "And he opened Texas' first Indian restaurant called India House."
Four decades later and 1,500 miles away, Goyal is following in his father's footsteps.
"There will always be a connection to this country that they left," he said. "And I know that from afar, but with love. And now I've really codified that love by opening a restaurant in that kitchen."
Goyal brought in chef Hari Nayak, an Indian cuisine expert who has cooked in cities around the world including Bangalore, Bangkok and Dubai. He's just as proud of the diversity of the menu as Jonas Chopra and Goyal.
"When I designed it, we wanted to take you on a journey through the different regions of India," he said. "We want it to be adventurous."
Part of this adventure involves some Western influences, like East Coast oysters.
MORE: Priyanka Chopra says racism she suffered in high school forced her to leave America
"We put green garlic [on] and oysters roasted in butter," Hari said. “It is always Indian at heart. So that is very important to me.”
For Chopra Jonas and Goyal, the restaurant is just the beginning. They recently launched SONA Home, a new homeware line that embodies the spirit of South Asian hospitality.
"SONA Home is a collection that's deeply rooted and rooted in roots that originated in India, but is meant for the modern home," she said. “It's for the home that likes to have a big table with people. And our culture is all about creating community and family.”
The duo designed a 45-piece dinnerware collection full of elegance, carefully considering every detail and the meaning behind it.
"The palm tree is a really big motif that you see in most of the pieces," said Chopra Jonas. “Most people don't associate the palm tree with India. But India is very, very coastal. It's a peninsula. It is surrounded by bodies of water of different types. And you see palm trees everywhere, coconut trees.”
MORE: Priyanka Chopra reflects on Miss World win: 'It feels like just yesterday I lived this dream'
While all pieces are inspired by the couple's Indian culture, one pattern feels special because it nods to Goyal's mother.
"His mother had saved all her favorite saris for his wife," Chopra Jonas said. "And when he came out to her, she said, 'What do I do with the sarees?' And he said, 'I'm going to repurpose them.'”
Both the homeware line and the food embody the South Asian love of hospitality. As for cooking, however, the actress leaves it to the experts.
"I'm not the best cook in the world, I can tell you that. Me and my husband love to entertain," she said. "I can make great eggs. Eggs are doable. But I can't make gourmet eggs. I'm the worst cook and my friends make fun of it. But I'm a really good host.”
For Chopra Jonas and Goyal, it's not just about furnishing the space, it's about creating a space that anyone can enter - the culmination of years of hard work.
"I had to do a lot of pavement banging to get a seat on the table, you know? To me. It was a very lonely journey. I don't talk about it very much because it's hard to explain," Chopra told Jonas. "It's been a decade since I've been here speaking to you about a lineage inspired by my homeland. The fact that there should be a place on the table for every type of culture that lives here is a really important thing to me."
Priyanka Chopra Jonas on a mission to change how Americans think about South Asian culture originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com

Last News

Taylor Lautner Is Getting Married, And His Wife's Name Could Be Super Awkward

Alex Jones turns on Donald Trump and backs Ron DeSantis, a sign that Trump is losing his grip on the far-right

Alex Jones turns on Donald Trump and backs Ron DeSantis, a sign that Trump is losing his grip on the far-right

Not your grandma’s stove…how can you buy stuff that doesn’t break right away?

See Nadya “Octomom” Suleman’s Kids on the First Day of 8th Grade

See Nadya “Octomom” Suleman’s Kids on the First Day of 8th Grade