[Press Release]Rohini Dey’s Chef Search in Mumbai

Mumbai, 23 April 2013 – The 23-year-old talented Aseema Mamaji from Mumbai beat her fellow finalists in a Live Indian Latin cook-off to be crowned the winner for an exciting salary of upto $70,000 to work at a renowned restaurant in New York & Chicago plus US permanent residency sponsorship.

Before the verdict was announced, the renowned judges Shabana Azmi, Nikhil Chib, Kunal Vijayakar, Rahul Akerkar, Rushina Munshaw-Ghildiyal & Rohini Dey reviewed each participant on 3 criteria’s: taste, presentation, Indian-Latin creativity attributing ten points each to these qualities. The presentation, flavor, originality and creativity was what gave Aseema an added edge over her fellow participants. Aseema won by a whopping 152 points.

The Judges were absolutely blown away with her beautiful presentation, her mix of Indian & Latin and her cooking skills.

After Aseema was revealed as the winner, Rohini Dey told her: “You are the most deserving winner as you cooked admirably today. Your dish stood out amongst all for its creativity and mouth watering recipe. Your prior experience, culinary aspirations and leadership potential was what made your dream come true today. We want to thank you for the commitment you’ve made because you are an absolute glory to yourself and your family.”

The winner said: “I feel on top of the world at the moment. I’ve had every possible experience out of this competition and I’m so incredibly grateful. Words can’t explain how thankful I am for this. This is just incredible.”

Besides winning this live cook-off challenge at Indigo, Colaba, Aseema will receive a salary of up to $70,000, a chance to work at 2 highly lauded kitchens in New York & Chicago and grow his/her culinary skills, an opportunity for a US permanent residency sponsorship and leading Vermilion expansion opportunities.

“Vermilion is extremely impressed with the outcome of this competition. An extremely talented lot of finalists competed with some exceptional dishes. The rule of the competition had to decide one winner, but all of them are winners in their rights. India has some great untapped talent which needs platforms like these to be recognized globally.” said Rohini Dey

About Vermilion and Rohini Dey

Known for its bold and unique indian-latin cuisine, Vermilion (NYC & Chicago) is founded by former World Banker and McKinsey management consultant Rohini Dey, Ph.D. The melding at Vermilion is driven by Rohini’s passion for culinary, her concept and travels. It is based on the deep historical cross-influences and geographical commonalities of the two regions, and an intellectually provocative evolution. Vermilion has been lauded for being both a woman-led entity and for its indian-latin cuisine by FT, Time, Gourmet, WSJ, Chicago Tribune 3 stars, Chicago magazine, Bon Appetit, Esquire , USA Today, Travel & Leisure, Town & Country, Wine Enthusiast, Business Week among others. Vermilion is also backed by an incredible roster of investors (author Salman Rushdie, Hotmail founder Sabeer Bhatia, CTO of Cisco Padmasree Warrior, Knopf Publishing Tycoon Sonny Mehta, and a roster of others).

Apart from the platform of both her restaurants, Rohini is active in educating and mentoring women through her non-profit (MSEdG – Educate Girls Globally) to which all her writing proceeds are donated, as a senior donor of the American India Foundation, her active involvement with the International Women’s Forum and The Chicago Network, and by contributing to the entrepreneurial programs of leading business schools (Kellogg, Chicago Booth, Columbia). Rohini is also a huge proponent of promoting women and has founded the Women in Culinary Leadership Program with the James Beard Foundation, which is dedicated to creating leadership roles for women in the culinary in the US.


Food Critic and a Marketing Wizz who had a high profile career with leading MNC’s like HSBC, GE Capital etc, Pawan Soni comes across as a quintessential corporate employee. He left behind his successful career as the Vice President of a MNC... all for his love for food. He a WSET Level II wine connoisseur and a foodie who loves to eat anything under the sun. Besides being a food and travel writer for various food forums and magazines, he is the Founder and CEO of Indian Food Freak. As one of the initial bloggers who started his blog almost a decade ago, his website www.indianfoodfreak.com is currently one of the biggest food and travel blogs in the country. Pawan also conducts highly successful restaurant awards and recently concluded the 6th edition of The Big F restaurant awards. He won the best influencer awards in India by BBC Food Food Awards in 2018

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