I’m Vidya Maharaj
Chef · Scientist · Restaurateur · Project Manager
But what is most incredible is that she is doing it all – all at once – now. Originally medical school-bound, Trinidadian-born Vidya is a Biological Sciences graduate from Florida International University.In addition to her challenging undergraduate coursework, Vidya demonstrated her innate leadership and communications skills on-campus.
She was a Founding Mother and the first president of FIU’s chapter of Delta Phi Omega Sorority, Inc, the first South Asian sorority in the United States. Armed with her undergraduate degree, Vidya next pursued her graduate studies in Epidemiology. She served as an Adjunct Graduate Professor at her alma mater; her entrance into the workforce as an Epidemiologist.
She launched her career as a clinical research guest researcher with the Center for Disease Control, Miami Quarantine Station in 2007 and then again in 2016, as first on the ground contracted epidemiologist for CDC’s pilot program for Zika surveillance, making her a pioneer in studying the disease at a local, state and federal level.
Vidya’s mastery of clinical research and her working knowledge of federal drug research regulations – from protocol development to drug approval – made her a highly respected and sought out consultant. For over 12 years, Vidya worked as a Pharmaceutical Project Development Manager and Life Sciences Consultant, supporting several clinical research firms.
From guiding and managing clinical trial designs, directing, monitoring, and leading business development and new study acquisitions, Vidya is a prominent expert in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. It was no surprise, given her expertise and experience in both private and federal science communities, that she became a regional project manager and lead clinical research epidemiologist for the CDC in 2016. She served in that role for two years and is now the Vice President of Regenerative Outcomes, LLC. To solidify her expertise as a proven pharmaceutical and biotechnology project manager, Vidya earned her Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification.
After climbing the corporate ladder, breaking glass ceilings, and earning respect and recognition as a scientist, Vidya turned her sights to another challenge. She teamed up with her siblings to make another dream a reality.
In the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, Vidya and her family opened the doors to their restaurant, Diya, an Indian restaurant. She debuted as Executive Chef, which she says is her true calling. She assures that she brings her meticulous and methodical skills, honed as a scientist, into the kitchen as she carefully creates mouth-watering recipes.
After a hard day’s work as a scientist, Vidya is keen to shift her mental processes and let her creativity shine – testing recipes, and designing beautiful food presentations. As a lifelong vegetarian, she is committed to the challenge of developing menus that tease the palates of all with the full spectrum of color and flavor of Indian vegetarian concoctions.
Vidya continues to call upon her project management skills in her management of Diya’s operations and her knowledge of lab protocols to ensure rigorous sanitation procedures are followed in the restaurant.