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HS 1 275x275 - Veena, Vijayudu

Vijayudu Veena

Jaya at The Setai


Many chefs travel the world to explore different flavors and cuisine. Vijayudu Veena travelled across the world to embrace his native cuisine of India. As the Executive Sous Chef of Jaya at The Setai, Miami Beach, Veena pays homage to his spicy and flavorful background by preparing dishes from India in addition to other regions of Asia including China, Thailand, Japan and Korea.

Born in Hyderabad, a city at the crossroads of North and South India, Veena’s childhood playground was his father’s restaurant, Chakram which served regional culinary specialties. Rich in culture as the former home to the royal dynasty of the Nizams, the city of Hyderabad proved to be fertile ground for the young aspiring chef.

“Indian cuisine is rich with spices,” says Veena. “My upbringing has heavily influenced my cooking, giving my style of cuisine a very distinctive flavor palate for diners in the United States. While most of my colleagues consider salt their ‘go-to’ ingredient, I find myself reaching for cumin, saffron and curry.”

Eager to learn more about gastronomy and see more of the world, Veena attended the Institut Hotelier Cesar Ritz in Le Bouveret, Switzerland and achieved an advanced certificate and a bronze medal in culinary arts. It was during a class featuring a presentation by the General Manager and Human Resources Director of The Setai that secured Veena’s next step of his journey.

“The manners and professionalism of The Setai’s team impressed me immensely. They discussed all the world travelers that frequent the hotel and Miami Beach,” says Veena. “I knew immediately I wanted to be a part of The Setai family.”

In 2008, Veena joined the hotel’s team and moved up the kitchen hierarchy swiftly. Now as Executive Sous Chef, Veena works with the culinary team and Food & Beverage Director Christian Maeder to consistently develop new flavors while maintaining culinary harmony.

More about Vijayudu Veena

What is your ultimate comfort food?: Thai or Indian cuisine - anything with noodles and spices If you weren't a chef, what would you be?: I have always ben around a kitchen, so it is hard for me to imagine not being around one. My father owned a restaurant, so I suppose I would have been a restaurant owner by taking over the family business. What three things are always in your pantry?: Turmeric, Saffron and Cumin If you could cook with anyone in the world, who would it be?: I admire many Chefs, so this is not an easy choice, but I would say Curtis Duffy because of his vision for Grace Thomas Keller of French Laundry would also be interesting to work with. Outside of the culinary world, I would love to cook with my mother. She's a fantastic cook, and I would find it interesting to cook along side her to learn some of her traditional methods as well as introducing her to techniques that I have learned from Thai and Japanese cuisine, for instance.