Foodie? Tech guru? Vijay Nathan straddles the two as the Boston-based cofounder of NoshOn.It, a daily dose of cooking inspiration and expert cooking advice from the world’s best chefs and food bloggers. As Chief Nosher, he aims to help people realize that anyone can achieve great food in their own kitchen. Roammeo intern Carlos “CJ” Acosta talked with Nathan about his love of sizzling bacon, ethnic foods, and combined food-tech expertise.
Q: Tell me a little bit more about NoshOn.It.
NoshOn.it is your daily dose of cooking inspiration. Every day we send you one handpicked recipe from one amazing chef and one expert-cooking tip to help you step up your game in the kitchen.
The whole idea behind NoshOn.it is that there are many people out there who want to be able to put together great handmade food on the table each and every night but they just need a little help figuring out what to make and how to make it.
Our ultimate goal is to, over time, help people to cook more really good food at home.
I’m a big believer that great home cooking is within everyone’s reach.
Q: When did you get to Boston? How did you become a food/tech entrepreneur in Boston?
I went to college at Tufts and graduated back in 2006. I left to San Francisco and then moved back to Boston about a year ago.
I’ve been in the food space for a while and started out as a professional cook. I’ve worked in restaurants, wineries, and have done a little bit of everything in the food and drink scene. The passion for helping people cook plus the tech element, which is somewhat of my generation, came to me while I was working on this.
As far as food/tech entrepreneurs, there’s not many of us here. Boston is a great tech center and a pretty good food center, but combined they don’t work that well. There’s a lot happening on both sides, and there are a couple of us trying to bring everything together.
Q: How would you describe the foodie scene here?
It is a very interesting question because I think it has different pockets. The obvious one, and my favorite one of the Boston food scene, is all the ethnic food, especially all of the Asian food. There’s so much here. You can get everything from Chinese to Vietnamese to Korean to Japanese. It’s all here and it is pretty damn good and authentic. And the best thing is you don’t have to break the bank.
I think all the ethnic stuff is because of all the students coming in and the people who are from here get to benefit from all of this amazing food.
On the other side, there are cool restaurants that have been around for a very long time that are more expensive and higher-end but that are starting to reinvent themselves to appeal to the crowd of young professionals going out and looking for very high quality food.
Another thing particular to the Boston foodie scene is that there’s a focus on local. People like using products that are from Boston – within a stone throw from it. That goes from food products all the way to beer. It’s crazy. It’s good that restaurants have embraced this. People care about what they put into their bodies.
Q: Yeah, people get passionate about local, especially about beer…
Yeah. When I think about beer in Boston, it’s like every time it gets even more local. The radius gets smaller. It used to be local when something was anywhere in MA. Now local is literally from Framingham or Somerville or Fort Points. We’re talking in the city of Boston. And I think that’s very very cool.
Q: What are some events that you have been to in the region? What are some recurring food events in Boston that people just cannot miss?
During the summer I love the SoWa Open Market. It is a part Artisan market, part farmers market part food truck festival kind of thing. And every Sunday it is just awesome.
As far as beer events go, any of the Beer Advocate (http://beeradvocate.com/) events are a must go to, especially the American Craft Beer Fest in the summer. It’s next to the World Trade Center and it is awesome. One of the best beer festivals I’ve ever been to.
To stay tuned with other Boston food scene events there’s a great newsletter from Boston Chefs. It is an insider’s deal of what is going on in the local restaurant scene. Every week they share everything that’s going on in restaurants. Like who’s doing a dollar night oysters or who’s doing a special dinner around some theme. You can find all of it there.
One thing that you want to do and haven’t yet?
One thing that I would love to do and haven’t done yet: The Gallows will roast a whole pig dinner if you organize it ahead of time. And that sounds very cool to me. I would like to get a group together and do that.
From a food perspective, what’s your favorite neighborhood in Boston/Cambridge?
Whoa… that is a good question. I would have to say Boston because I will travel for food. That’s putting me in a corner to choose. I eat a lot round Allston, South End, and Chinatown but I go to Cambridge too. The reason I pick Boston is because there’s a lot of ethnic food. I like findings holes in the wall, those little places that aren’t necessarily the most familiar to people, hidden gems.
What’s one thing that’s guaranteed to get you out of bed/off the couch?
It would have to be the smell of roasting pork. Whether it’s bacon or whatever, if I get a smell like that I’ll be up.