Cherie Scott’s earliest memories of living in Mumbai, India, are of her family’s small one-bedroom apartment—specifically, the kitchen.
She’ll never forget the smells of cumin, cardamom and coriander, or the freshly baked pao and bottled milk delivered at the door. Living in a neighborhood filled with her Hindu, Muslim and Parsi-speaking neighbors, her life was as flavorful as one of the curries made by her mother, Regina, she says.
When, at the age of nine, her family got a chance to visit Toronto in 1988, Scott saw life outside of her crowded city streets for the first time.
“I realized there was a world of opportunity,” Scott says. “I knew we were missing out and needed to leave Mumbai.”
Now a content developer and sector lead for Trueline’s Toggle Magazine, Scott says she learned the art of the sales pitch after that trip, relentlessly lobbying her parents to drain their savings to uproot the family and apply for citizenship.
“I definitely became a thorn in their side,” she says with a laugh.
Six years later, at the age of 16, Scott got her wish in the form of a manila envelope from the Canadian embassy. Inside was the paperwork to a new and exciting life.
Starting From Scratch
For Scott, arriving as an immigrant to a high school in Burnaby, British Columbia was a lesson in humility. Not only did she look different than her classmates, but she also spoke differently and had a diet seasoned with more than just salt and pepper.
When students began to tease Scott, she was taken aback. After all, she’d been something of a teen sensation in Mumbai, singing jingles in commercials. She’d even scrapped a recording contract to join the girl band Caliche’, in Mumbai.
Determined to make her way, Scott attacked her studies and auditioned for a musical theater program at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Awarded a scholarship, she moved to New York. Starting over once again, she survived on $3 per day on a diet of Italian meatballs and worked three jobs.
Having hustled to fit in, Scott expected life to be easier—especially after earning a certificate in musical theater in 1999. But it wasn’t.
Embracing Her Heritage
For Scott, the next 15 years took a series of twists and turns. Leaving the stage lights behind, she married a blue-eyed Jersey boy named Guy in 2002 and returned to school, earning a degree in broadcast journalism from Rutgers University in 2006.
In 2007, the couple welcomed a daughter, Sophia, and moved to Boothbay, Maine, in 2008. In 2016, they would add a son, Justus, to their family. It was when Sophia started asking questions about her Indian heritage that Scott broke down.
“I realized I did a huge disservice to my daughter and myself by denying our legacy,” Scott says. “I had to turn this around.”
In 2015 Scott reconnected with the past, creating her culinary blog, “Mumbai to Maine.” In 2018, when her mother passed away, she doubled down on this new focus, determined to honor her mother by embracing her early love of food.
As a guest instructor at Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School, she developed an Indian cooking series. In 2020, Mumbai to Maine expanded into a podcast, and Scott created a simmer sauce line of three of her mother’s recipes: Caldine (Goan coconut gravy), Saag (Punjabi creamed spinach) and Makhani (a North Indian butter masala). The collection is going nationwide this fall.
Still, Scott remained restless during the pandemic. With a love of writing, she found a job listing from Trueline. Submitting her resume, she interviewed with a guy named Haj Carr.
“Speaking with him was like drinking a virtual Red Bull,” Scott recalls of Trueline’s CEO. “I met someone who understood me.”
In sharing her journey with him—and explaining her desire to both develop her own business and work for Trueline—she found something that was hard to find: acceptance.
“While most employers force you to choose, he told me having an outside interest is exactly why Trueline wanted me here,” Scotts says.
Joining Trueline in July 2020, Scott quickly progressed from assistant content coordinator to content developer and, later, sector lead for Toggle, the company’s technology publication.
“I find joy in connecting with our clients to tell their stories,” Scott says. “Each person’s journey offers a unique perspective to share.”
Sizing Up Cherie Scott:
At age 13: Cherie was singing jingles for Indian commercials and back-up vocals for Bollywood movies—and making bank.
You won’t believe this: At age 34, Scott, a native of Mumbai, could make a Yankee pot roast but she couldn’t make dal, a native Indian dish made from lentils.
The basic formula for all Indian cooking: Ghee, onions, garlic, ginger, cilantro, green chilis.
Her philosophy on life: “Just do it,” Scotts says. “If you sit back and analyze situations to death you will fail at everything and achieve nothing.”