[on Monica’s The Devil in Us] Monica’s wonderful, internationally-flavored collection is full of spice and life. The beguiling voice of a true storyteller will lure you out of your self into her intriguing, fictional world. Enjoy!

Diana Abu-Jaber, author of Crescent and Bird of Paradise

[on Monica’s A Life of Spice] Monica writes stories about food, but often they are really stories about searching. She looks for what the world will reveal if you ask questions of the things we usually keep silent. She’s a generous writer, seeking the finer, richer sides of us.

Francis Lam, Editor-at-Large, Clarkson Potter, and New York Times Magazine columnist
Monica Saigal
Monica Saigal (photo by Simi Jois Photography)

Equal parts storyteller and globe-trotter, Monica Saigal (Bhide), an award-winning author, accomplished literary coach, and educator with over 15 years of experience, transcends countless borders—chronological, geographical, religious, and economical—to inspire her readers. Born in New Delhi, raised in the Middle East, and now residing outside Washington, D.C., she currently serves as a corporate storyteller for one of the world’s leading professional services companies. Her prolific portfolio, enriched by the many places she calls home, channels a distinctly cosmopolitan worldview.

Monica’s words, which have appeared on renowned platforms including The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe Christian Science MonitorBon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Town & Country,among others, are a collection of culture-driven articles that approach the world food first. Her books, all infused with a signature lyricism, consist of acclaimed cooking compendiums, like 2009’s Modern Spice, brimming with contemporary versions of traditional Indian recipes. Her debut short story collection, The Devil in Us, a clutch of spellbinding tales centered on fate and fortune, earned a spot on Amazon’s bestseller list in 2015, while her more recent novel, Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken, which explores the healing power of food, led NPR’s café in Washington, D.C., to serve up creations inspired by her protagonist chef.

Monica Saigal and her books
Monica Saigal and her books (photo by Simi Jois Photography)

Her work has garnered numerous accolades and has been included in four Best Food Writing anthologies (2005, 2009, 2010, and 2014). Her memoir, A Life of Spice, was picked by Eat Your Books as one of the top five food memoirs of 2015.  Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi picked Bhide’s Modern Spice (Simon & Schuster, 2009), as one of the “Best Books Ever” for Newsweek in 2009. The Chicago Tribune named Monica “one of the seven food writers to watch in 2012.” 

In addition to her various storytelling endeavors, Monica appears as a regular voice on radio programs like NPR’s “Kitchen Window,” and recently launched “Powered by Hope,” a podcast centered on life during a pandemic, and what it means to be physically distant yet connected to our very core. She also speaks about the intersection of food, culture, and writing for prestigious conferences and organizations such as the Smithsonian Institution, Sackler Gallery, Les Dames d’Escoffier, and Yale University. In 2013, she was appointed as Writing Coach in Residence for the Association of Food Journalists’ annual conference, where she counseled writers on establishing their social media brands, underscoring her ultimate strengths as an eloquent, ever evolving, and outstanding writer.

Monica is a graduate of the George Washington University (Washington, D.C.), and holds a master’s degree from Lynchburg College (Lynchburg, VA) and a Bachelor’s degree from Bangalore University (Bangalore, India). She feels fortunate for her rich, multicultural education and enjoys giving back to the global community by serving on committees and volunteering for Les Dames d’Escoffier, The International Association of Culinary Professionals, and at her children’s schools in Northern Virginia.

Monica lives in Virginia with her two sons. 

CLICK HERE to download Monica Saigal’s current portfolio.