Chef

DSC00330Cooking Philosophy 

The phrase “Eat Local, Go Global” perfectly captures my cooking philosophy. It evolved from my experiences with home cooking, high-end dining, scientific research, and interactions with diverse cultures and people over shared meals. In the kitchen, I ground myself in my local terroir, but I am not afraid of bringing influences from afar. I find inspiration in the bounty of nature, and embrace my diverse cultural heritage, culinary skill, and scientific knowledge in the search for deliciousness. I focus on finding complexity in simplicity,
using my molecular understanding of food
ingredients, nutrition, and neuroscience to create sensations that are novel without beingvisit1 artificial. Science liberates me, allows me to break away from constraining recipes and unnecessary structures.  With a focus on seafood and vegetarian food, my cooking strikes a perfect balance between the local and the global, between nutrition and deliciousness. Enjoy and see for yourself.

Summary of Experiences

_DSC0089Private chef for 5 years and counting for parties of 6-200, gastronomy researcher at Fundacion Alicia (three-star Michelin Chef Ferran Adria, the most influential chef of the last decades), executive chef and head concept developer at Tiny’s giant sandwich shop in NYC (NYtimesbest veggie burgers,” Serious Eatsmaximum flavor in every bite”), sous-chef at Abbekas Hamnkrog, prep-cook at Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster Harlem.

I am available for small-scale catering gigs, dinner parties, and cookery workshops for people of all ages in the Boston-Cambridge area. Please see my CV for a full list of experiences.

Testimonials 

“I got to know Vayu as a person incredibly passionate about food; a person who always asks important and curious questions about his work and who will take the extra step to find the answer in the kitchen, laboratory, and beyond” Pere Castells, former El Bulli food scientist and head of Alicia research department, now head of BulliPedia, Spain.

 Vayu and Sam came and cooked the most fantastically delicious and soul-filled food for a party to celebrate my mother’s life.  We hosted 70 people at our home and dedicated three rooms to central parts of my mother’s life: Hawaii, South Carolina, and Spain.  Vayu and Sam designed menus for each room and brought my mother’s spirit back to life.  What’s even more incredible than their cooking is Vayu and Sam’s positive, welcoming energy.  All the guests loved coming into the kitchen to talk with them; they both patiently answered questions, entertained everyone with their stories, and ignited the crowd with their passion for food.  An incredible night! Julia Holloway, Cambridge Resident and Foodie.

 

Like a gifted conductor directing a beautiful symphony, Vayu orchestrated a fabulous dinner for a large crowd of faculty and students with a team of eager classmates: when I came in the kitchen, they were having great fun concocting all sorts of interesting finger food. The dishes were very diverse in shape, taste and texture, and all amazingly delicious. All of this made the event truly memorable. Dr. Catherine Dulac, Higgins Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University.

 

The overall experience of Vayu’s cooking is unforgettable.  From hearing him talk about food to watching him prepare it all to savoring every last bite, the whole process was out of this world.  Dr. Emily Balskus and Dr. Andrew Haidle, Boston food lovers and chemistry brainiacs.

Nearly life-changing. Vayu made a remarkable 4-course dinner for 10 people – almost all of the dinner table conversation was about the extraordinary tastes and textures. Vayu ate with us as well, which was a real treat. His passionate interest in food is fun and contagious. Go, Vayu! Gibb Taylor and Leslie Pell van Breen, Co-founders of The Artist Book Foundation.

We were introduced to Vayu and his cooking this summer when he came to Harvard for a summer research position. He came to our house twice, each time to prepare/cook/present a four-course dinner that was: imaginatively conceived, balanced and nutritious, beautiful to look at and delicious in every detail. We, and our friends and family, could not have been more thrilled to experience all that is Vayu! We cannot recommend him more highly. Edie and Charles Rathbone, Cambridge residents and dedicated fans of the watermelon tomatillo gazpacho.

We have enjoyed two of Vayu’s incredible dinners. His talent is apparent in his attention to detail in each aspect of every exquisite plate prepared. There is no doubt that Vayu’s future is bright both academically and on the culinary front! Congratulations VayuGeraldine Farrugia, avid home cook and Rochester Resident. Gianrico Farrugia, Vice President, Mayo Clinic.

 

We were lucky to have an evening of cooking with/by Vayu at our home – his last in Northfield before his graduation from Carleton College!  He envisioned and led the preparation of an inspired and wonderfully delicious meal for 6.  I admired both his clarity of vision – knowing exactly what he wanted to create and how to do it – and his flexibility – working in a kitchen he’d never seen before, quickly adapting to the space, tools, and people (us) to assign tasks to.  We loved hearing a little of the science behind cooking; *loved* eating the food. I only wish we could have learned even more!
We especially loved learning from Vayu about his ideas, visions, and plans.  His ways of thinking about food, eating, and cooking are so inspiring – the science… the art… and particularly how cooking can be a way to make science and healthy eating be both accessible and enjoyable to people of all backgrounds.  Sandra Turbes (M.D., Carleton class of ’92, Northfield resident)

 

We had a wonderful evening with our friends and Vayu at our home! The food was exceptional as Vayu blended fresh ingredients and spices for a four course meal. Some of the most enjoyable moments were helping in the preparation and discussing the menu and ingredients with Vayu to learn more about cooking and his passion for it. We’d definitely have him out again!  Sheila and Chris Kennelly.

 

My wife Sarah and I were pleased to host a Friday evening dinner party for 10 with Vayu staffing the kitchen. His menu was creative and seasonal, utilizing fresh produce including maple syrup and eggs from our own yard. Working with him in the kitchen I was able to witness first hand the creative passion that goes into his culinary art. He helps you look at food through a new lens. In addition to the delicious dishes he also took the time to explain each with the detail of artist and scientist. He explained what he was thinking in creating the recipes and how the flavors, textures, and colors all played off each other. This was more than a dinner but rather a full sense experience. I am sad, selfishly, that he will be graduating and leaving Northfield but know that he will go on to do great things. I look forward to staying in touch and seeing where his path leads. Eric and Sarah Swan McDonald, College/High School Educators.

 

My husband and I had the good fortune to prepare a dinner with Vayu and a small group of friends.He is truly and artist with a passion for his craft.  His enthusiasm was inspiring and infectious.  He created a fun and relaxing environment in which to cook, and it seemed to magically come together into an unforgettable meal. Our experience was part art, part science, all fun! Mary Poole, Parents at Prairie Creek Elementary School, MN.

 

My wife and I have had the pleasure of participating in a cooking experience with Vayu on two separate occasions.  We had a fantastic experience both times.  Not only does Vayu know the science and art of food preparation and nutrition, but he knows how to keep 10-12 hyperactive adults who are preoccupied with socializing and drinking wine on task.  Vayu organizes the chaos and cooking becomes a team sport that we all had a blast being involved in.   The end result is one of the best four course meals I can remember eating.  He is an amazing young man, with a bright future! Andrei & Wendy Sivanich, Workshop Participants and Northfield Residents,

 

 We have experienced Vayu’s cooking on three different levels. The first being his satisfying piping hot winter soup and bread meals that he prepares for convenient pick up after church services on Sundays. The second being an in-home party where we were part of the entire cooking experience as we worked at different stations learning from Vayu as we prepared a delicious meal with wonderful friends. The third, being our most recent, we hired Vayu to cater our son’s graduation party. Vayu was professional, dependable, articulate with directives, calm under pressure and exceeded our expectations. We received rave reviews from guests about our graduation spread. All three experiences — aromatic, a rainbow of color, beautiful presentation, variety of flavors and textures. . .creative, artistic, and delectable! Give Vayu a try! He will not disappoint. Melissa Beithon, Northfield mother of recent high school graduate

 

We invited Vayu to help us prepare an awesome birthday dinner for my mom and her friends. The food was amazing and it was so inspirational to spend time with Vayu learning about his passion for food, for service and for making the world a better place! I am still dreaming about the wonderful meal. Jane Runzheimer, M.D, and Northfield Resident.


Vayu’s talents sing on the plate. Imaginative, forward, direct flavors not muddied by a sophomoric hand. Visual and olfactory senses are also honored in each of Vayu’s creations. Vayu is capable of collaborating with his client regarding menu development or he can easily and independently assimilate a menu with flourish that expresses any mood, theme, or vision so desired by his client. His table-side persona is confident yet devoid of even a modicum of arrogance as it is his core desire that the client and the guests experience and understand his cuisine in the true spirit of inclusivity. A true find in this geographic area. 
John E. Rainville, DDS Owner, Downtown Dental Care of Rochester and experienced home cook.

We’ve been fortunate enough to have Vayu cook in our home three times this year. He is an amazing artist who blends together the most beautiful ingredients and colors to create dishes that are not only visually stunning, but lush, aromatic, and superb in taste. In addition, Vayu is a sweet, funny, and warm individual who fits in with any crowd, whether raucous friends or dear grandparents. His enthusiasm for his craft is infectious and inviting, and will change the way you cook. Clarice Grabau, Northfield fan of MexicAsian cuisine.

I’m a fan! I hired Vayu to prepare my wedding lunch, and we are all still talking about it. Now I”m a Sunday Soup devotee. I love how all the flavors blend and stand out at the same time. Jane Fenton, newly wed Northfielder and Soup Sunday Devotee.

Vayu’s plates make for awesome eats! I could (and did) munch on the kale chips with truffle oil for hours on end. The patatas bravas were absolutely amazing and the best potatoes I have ever tasted. Nicholas Chia, Kale chips addict and Principal Investigator, Mayo Clinic Microbiome program.

“My husband and I have had a chance to cook and eat with Vayu twice. Each time, I learned a new technique and enjoyed a fantastic meal. Vayu’s style of cooking is international, his enthusiasm is infectious and his food is delicious.” Mary S. Schier, Northfield Gardener and Journalist.

Eating and cooking with Vayu is a transformational culinary experience.  His enthusiasm and passion for food, more specifically, for blending various international cuisines and flavors make for a fantastic eating experience. ” Kelly Scheuerman,  Passionate foodie, and Assistant director of the Carleton ACT center.

I’ve recently signed-on for the Sunday Soup Kitchen takeout. OMG! The kale w/veggies and cream of carrot w/veggies is a symphony composed for taste buds! Toasted, buttered Asiago Garlic Batard is the accompaniment… no words suffice to convey this culinary experience. Now the only thing to satisfy my watering taste buds is to eat more of Vayu’s soup! Give it a try, or remain forever naive about this culinary orgasm. Paula Manor, Dundas, MN.

“On the one hand Vayu is a dreamer and on the other a miracle worker. An average Joe or Joanna looks into Vayu’s refrigerator and sees hardly any ingredient with which to make pasta, let alone whip up a delectable, diverse, and nutritious meal and dessert, sometimes in less than 30 minutes. The flavors on Vayu’s plates are so compelling that one tends to eat just the right amount, since he creates the kind of food that is so good that one feels satisfied upon its consumption, and, besides, not all that eager to continue eating elsewhere.

However, cooking is just one aspect of Vayu’s project.  He is equally preoccupied with communicating his passion to others through writing and teaching.  This blog is proof of how much Vayu seeks communion through revealing his most intimate experiences around food.  He is a young adult with a remarkable skill for “striking a match” to incite in those around him a desire to eat, to get to know food the way he does, and, of course, to create it themselves.

I would highly recommend Vayu as a cookery workshop leader, but I’d also recommend as a leader of all kinds of groups whose aims are to encourage young people to pursue their passions. Vayu is an exemplary model.” Jacqueline Loss, Professor of Latin American Studies at Uconn.

Vayu is a great chef. Innovative, bold, and knowledgeable. His food speaks for itself. Have a bite and you will understand. Angel Castell, Michelin-star cook and former co-worker from Fundacion Alicia, Barcelona. 

“A great idea is nothing if it isn’t realized. That’s where Vayu is different. There’s billions of dreamers out threre but Vayu makes it happen. That’s what Vayu is all about, realizing a great idea to teach people how to cook and how to experience the joy of good, healthy food. Growing up on simple basic food I have become a food freak and a Michelin Star Collector. But Vayu keeps on surprising me with his innovative new dishes, mixing European haute cuisine with traditional Indian, Asian and American recipes. As the true artist Vayu knows that the most important thing is working with top quality ingredients, creating lighter dishes with a modern and more modest presentations, Vayu simplifies a complex cuisine and makes it fun and accessible to all. Vayu inspires people to create and learn more about the fantastic world of great food. Hat’s off.” Erik Eger, food connoisseur, director and writer who last year ate six Guide Michelin stars in ten hours.

I attended ten of the workshops with six of my friends. I learned and got to taste more than I could dream of. Since Vayu sent out all the recipes after the workshops, I made everything at home.  I treated my family for everything from the Indian yellow rice, key lime pie and bruschetta to the Thai mussel soup,falafel and Norwegian crepes. Everyone loved it.

Before, my mom and her friends always had dinner parties and made the food for us. Now, we make the food and have dinner parties together. Last time we made the key lime pie… But, as usual we forgot the eggs.

Vayu is a great teacher and the workshops meant a lot to me. Now I know that food is not only about the food in your mouth – it is a social event, it is stories, passion, – it is simply life. Ivo, 14 year old cookery workshop participant and homecook, from Stockholm, Sweden

“Vayu is a very intelligent young man with great visions. What puts him above the rest is that he has a sparkling creativity that is hard to find elsewhere. Just as in my work, this creativity comes to life in interesting ideas and concepts – but, unlike me, most of all in his food. He is an excellent cook and, as the foodie I am, I always look forward to eating his food. Even though it has been a while since I had dinner at his place, I still remember the fragrant dishes Vayu cooked last time. My tastebuds enjoyed a wonderful sage-fried shrimp dish with Swedish potato fritters and a lovely Asian salad. To sum it all up; Vayu is not only an excellent cook – he is a creative and sociable team-player who is highly skilled at interacting with people. I would surely recommend him.” Paul Malmstrom, Musician and Creative Mind; owner of ad agency of the year 2009 Mother New York.