Meet Chef Hari Nayak - The Culinary Director for Cafe Spice
The man behind the authentic and bold flavors of Cafe Spice is one of the most sought after chefs in North America. Employing a modern outlook to global cuisine without abandoning the authentic flavors, wonderful aromas, or rich culinary history, Chef Hari Nayak has brought Cafe Spice to the forefront of ready-to-eat international meals. By using only the highest-quality, whole ingredients, he has created an award-winning lineup of meals, appetizers and small bites that are found nationally in retailers such as Whole Foods Market, Amazon Fresh, Gelson's, Big Y, Schnucks and numerous independent retailers and natural food stores. However, it isn’t just his long list of accolades that makes Chef Hari such an integral part of the Cafe Spice team. His devoted, daring and spirited personality is reflected in his cooking style, which makes his recipes uniquely distinct.
Prior to working with Cafe Spice, Hari began his journey as an international restaurateur, chef and author in Manipal, India where he studied at the ITC Hospitality Management school. Next, he joined the ITC Sheraton group of hotels as a kitchen management trainee before being admitted to the very prestigious Culinary Institute of America, New York (CIA).
Hari graduated from CIA with honors in 1998 and continued to enhance his knowledge and skills under the guidance of world renowned chefs like Daniel Bolud, Marcus Samuelson, Albert Adria and Alain Ducasse. Chef Hari made his own debut into the culinary world by opening America’s first patisserie in Princeton, New Jersey. He then joined Sodexo, one of the largest food service companies in North America as their Group Executive Chef.
It was during this time that he wrote his first cookbook Modern Indian Cooking, which was named LA Times Cookbook of the Year in 2007. Since then, Hari has written six more cookbooks and has been recognized as one of the top Indian chefs and cookbook authors in North America.
Hari has forayed beyond North America to make his mark in Asia and the Middle East as a chef patron and consultant, helping investors and restaurant management companies execute various restaurant concepts successfully. Most recently, Hari partnered with Priyanka Chopra Jonas, David Rabin and Maneesh Goyal to open Sona, a modern Indian restaurant in New York City which reimagines the Indian dining experience.
Hari is globally known as a pioneer of modern Indian cuisine and his vision is to bring Indian culture and cuisine to the forefront on the global culinary map. Coupled with his western cooking skills, his deep-rooted Indian traditions, perseverance and hard work, he dreams and aspires to provide Indian cuisine an international platform and the recognition of being one of the top three cuisines in the world.