Chef Asha Gomez loves to cook and has an immense deep love for Indian food. As part of her background, she finds it important that Indian food be respected for the heritage, tradition, and impeccable tastes she and so many others have grown up with. “I have to remove people from the mentality that all Indian food should be clumped up into nine dishes or belong on a buffet line at $4.99. Indian food is 5,000 years of tradition and history, and it belongs right up there with French cuisine.”

Her frustration over American interpretations of the beloved coconut-scented fish curries, dosas and carefully layered beef biryanis of her homeland echoes the lament of countless cooks who have immigrated from countries like China, Mexico or Vietnam only to find their food mangled to meet the limitations of a new country’s palate and relegated to its cheap-eats guides. That’s exactly why Ms. Gomez had invited a producer working on a show for PBS; two videographers, who helped create her web-based subscription cooking show titled “Curry and Cornbread”; and two newspaper journalists to join her journey back to Kerala.

It was there in a three-household compound in Thiruvananthapuram (she said she preferred the old name, Trivandrum), Kerala’s capital city on the Arabian Sea where it all began. Ms. Gomez learned to cook from her mother, Hazel, and her three aunts, who all lived near one another. It was a dreamy childhood, in a religiously diverse and literate region of India where young people prefer American rock to Bollywood soundtracks. Young Asha grew up pulling mangoes from the trees and buying sugar cane from the vendors outside her parochial school. At night, she would head to the street stalls for chunks of chicken with crunchy fried shallots, garlic and curry leaves crisped in coconut oil. It is there in the Cardamom Hills that she reconnects to her Kerala roots understands the deeper meaning of the journey and a way to merge her two homes.

Today she cooks for private clients at her kitchen and dining room in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward, called the Third Space. She teaches cooking, consults for food companies and has become a “chef ambassador” for CARE. She receives more requests for public appearances than she can say yes to and her 2016 cookbook, “My Two Souths,” was nominated for a James Beard Award.

“I want to leave an America behind where my son can be proud of both his heritages,” she said. “I want him to carry both these places with equal pride, hand in hand.”