Neelma Patel


When you ask Chef Neelma about her culinary background, she jokingly responds that she comes from a culture that has been focused on food for the past five thousand years.  Even before she was professionally trained, she had one impressive resume.

Chef Neelma has a background that is a melting pot of cultures, cuisines, and countries.  A native of New Jersey, she came to the USA as a young teenager.  She is a 4th generation Indian, born and raised in East Africa thanks to her colonized roots.  Having lived in 3 different countries rich in history, diverse demographics, and abundant in ingredients, she has always had access to a culinary adventure beyond any.  Knowledgeable home and professional cooks as well as tribal, ethnic, and modern tools/appliances have also contributed to her success.  She uses this wealth to incorporate into her sweet and savory recipes plus her culinary classes.

After a successful and lucrative sales career in banking, she revisited her childhood passion and got reintroduced to her love of food making while raising a young family.  Since then, she has worked in the food service industry in various capacities; a dishwasher, server, professional cook, baker, caterer, food writer, food entrepreneur, pastry chef, culinary instructor, culinary manager and currently as the director of her own virtual cooking school, Virtually Yours, Chef Neelma. The flavors, diversity, and experiences in her life enable her to teach the cuisines of the world today.  Chef also consistently enriches herself with food history and is passionate about the origin and nutrition of food along with the cultural, economic, environmental and sociological impacts of the industry.