Browse By

Vidya Maharaj: Entrepreneur, Epidemiologist, and Chef Extraordinaire

Renowned entrepreneur Vidya Maharaj is making use of two very different sets of skills. 

Originally an epidemiologist by trade (and having worked directly with the CDC), Vidya is the VP of Clinical Operations and Development for a pharma consulting firm that specializes in working with many sizes of companies and biotechs from concept to post-marketing of drugs with FDA approval. At the same time, Vidya is the owner and executive chef at Diya Miami, a Rookman Group company. Vidya has built her family restaurant into one of Miami Beach’s hottest Indian fusion spots. They are taking vegan food with Indian notes to a whole new level.

Fresh Fusion: The Rise of Diya Miami

Diya Miami is a family-owned and operated restaurant. According to Vidya, she took on the role of executive chef because cooking has always been a natural passion of hers. She was given this opportunity when her brothers ventured into the restaurant industry for the first time. 

Diya Miami opened its doors in January of 2020, just before the pandemic brought business to a screeching halt. “We all had to work together to keep the business alive and functional during the pandemic,” she recalls. “Our parents always taught us to work together if we can help each other.” Vidya offered her culinary skills to help grow the restaurant and make their parents proud. She explains her reasoning with a maxim that, according to her, has helped guide her to success: “Never say no to an opportunity that can enhance your skills and propel your career.”

Vidya feels fortunate to be able to work with her family. According to Vidya, her brothers and sister-in-law, each in their own roles, are equally integral to the success of the business. Vidya serves as executive chef and handles business development, while sister-in-law Valerie Slone runs HR and operations. Vidya’s brother Dharam helps with the day-to-day management of staff and operations, while her older brother Munesh deals with fundraising and networking for the business.

Vidya: Portrait of an Empowered Woman

Vidya was recently inducted into Chief, an organization for successful women. Chief’s goal is to drive more women into positions of power. It is currently the only organization for high-level professional women. They help women to develop valuable connections, strengthen their skills, and reach higher positions in the workforce. 

Vidya wears her Chief membership with pride. For her, it serves as a recognition of the successes she’s reached and the struggles she’s overcome. Chief currently has a waitlist of 30,000 women.

A Promising Future for Vidya

Over the next few years, Vidya hopes to see The Rookman Group become a major hospitality group across the country. As for herself, she has even bigger ambitions. “I see myself becoming an inspiration to many people, especially to women, in corporate America,” she says. With her incredible work ethic, determination, and drive, she’s sure to achieve any goal she sets her mind to.

Check out Vidya’s website and linktree to learn more about her accomplishments. Read about Diya Miami (or place an order) at