Originally from Kerala in southern India, Nijo recalls childhood days of cooking Indian cuisine with his mother. “The pride she took in preparing meals had a great effect on me, which is why I felt the calling to be a chef,” he says. .” If asked about his most memorable meal, Nijo would tell you about the “magic meals” that his mother used to prepare with the food from their garden. Hungry to acquire his mother’s palate and cooking techniques
He embarked on his culinary journey at the University of Madras. There, he trained in French cuisine as part of his Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel & Catering Management. He accented his education with externships at the Trident Oberoi, Sheraton Park Hotel & Towers Chennai, and the Centaur Hotel in New Delhi. At the Royal Mirage in Dubai, Nijo mastered Mediterranean, Moroccan, and Middle Eastern cuisine. As a Chef for Carnival Cruise Lines, he further honed his kitchen management skills, where the philosophy of preparation without error is key. Making his way to the United States, he assisted in opening Indian fine dining restaurants in Melbourne, Florida.
Nijo joined Stanford in 2003, and since then he has served at several R&DE venues. He is an Assistant Director of Culinary Excellence, managing all aspects of the culinary programs.
Devinder was born and raised in Chandigarh in northern India. Having started his professional career with a degree and a job as a pharmacist, Devinder decided that food, his original passion, could be an effective tool in providing health to one’s body and soul as the prescriptions he was filling. With this realization in mind,
Devinder decided to pursue his passion and took a job in his family’s restaurant. An entrepreneur at heart, Devinder went on to start three successful restaurants of his own before becoming a chef for Stanford Dining. In his fourteen years as a chef, Devinder has developed expertise in both getting restaurants off the ground and in building successful management teams.
He combines his knowledge of food and medicine to create enticing dishes that are nutritionally balanced. From his culinary perspective, he says, “I understand how food functions in the kitchen as well as in the body, and I bring this intention to my menu.”
Amid pandemic, in 2020 Devinder co-founded a non-profit to provide free meals to those in need to make sure no one stays hungry and has access to food anywhere, anytime, and any day.