Raj Vaidya, Head Sommelier
“Rajeev Vaidya is young, knowledgeable and highly motivated to excel as a chef sommelier at DANIEL” says Wine Director Daniel Johnnes, who is responsible for overseeing the wine departments in all the restaurants that make up Boulud’s Dinex Group. “Raj’s background and experience have given him the tools to succeed and lead our team of sommeliers at DANIEL. I am excited to welcome him to the Dinex Group family and to work closely with him towards maintaining our wine program as one of the leading programs in the country”.
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’s Cru and Per Se, as well as Gary Danko in San Francisco and Seeger’s in Atlanta. In addition, Raj has earned some of the wine worlds most respected diplomas including the Certificate Course of The Sommelier Society of America (2004), the Wine and Spirits Education Trusts Advanced Certificate (2004) and Diploma (2009). Raj also has spent time in California, working with Robert Sinskey Vineyards, a biodynamic estate in Napa. Raj is a graduate of Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and philosophy. He was born in New Jersey but grew up in his family’s native Bombay and in Singapore.
Raj attributes his early passion for fine cuisine to his family and their obsession with food and drink. While he began learning about wine well before he was legally permitted to drink in this country, he truly started to refine his knowledge at what he calls his first serious restaurant job, working at New Jersey’s Ryland Inn with a chef who had a natural affinity for pairing food and wine. That early experience has evolved into a particular love of Burgundy and the Rhône Valley, making him right at home working with Chef Daniel Boulud, a Rhône valley native with a love of that region’s wines.