This week on In the Drink, Head Sommelier of DANIEL, Raj Vaidya, comes into the studio to speak with us about developing his early passion for fine cuisine, food, and of course, amazing wines. Growing up in Bombay, he began learning about wine well before he would have been legally permitted to drink in this country. He refined his knowledge at what he calls his first serious restaurant job, working at New Jersey’s Ryeland Inn, with a chef who had a natural affinity for pairing food and wine. That early experience evolved into a particular love of Burgundy and the Rhône Valley, making him right at home working with Daniel Boulud, a Rhône valley native with a love of that region’s wines.

Raj Vaidya joined DANIEL in the Spring of 2009 with an impressive history of experience in fine dining restaurants that boast some of this country’s most celebrated wine lists and wine service. His stellar resume includes positions at restaurants such as New York City’s Cru and Per Se, as well as Gary Danko in San Francisco and Seeger’s in Atlanta. Raj also spent time in California working with Robert Sinskey Vineyards, a biodynamic estate in Napa. In addition, Raj has earned some of the wine world’s most respected diplomas, including the Certificate Course of The Sommelier Society of America (2004), the Wine and Spirits Education Trust’s Advanced Certificate (2004) and their Diploma Program (2008).

Tune-in today to hear more about the inner workings of restaurant Daniel, and how being head sommelier requires Raj to work as a both a trader and salesperson when searching for the perfect bottle. This program has been sponsored by the International Culinary Center.

“I work two jobs. During the day I am a trader, and at night, I’m a salesperson.” [22:50]

“In a wine pairing, you’re getting a snapshot, but it’s such a short window, that you have to be exact.” [31:50]

Raj Vaidya on In the Drink