Alumna Vidushi Binani
Diploma in Gastronomy, Nutrition and Food Trends
With a spotlight on inclusive wellbeing, Vidushi has created a nutrition-first menu that is transforming London’s healthy food scene. Built upon the principles of her expertise, each carefully considered dish features high-quality nutritional profiles with macro and micro-nutrients, that celebrate all food groups.
A judge for the Great Taste Awards, and great British Food Awards, Vidushi creates her dishes using sustainable, seasonal, and ethically sourced produce. This includes wholesome ingredients from post-workout protein shakes, barista-style coffees and fulfilling bowls that embody her ethos of sustainable wellbeing. We caught up with Vidushi to find out more about her culinary journey.
What made you decide to train in the culinary arts?
"I have always been a foodie since a young age. I always loved eating out and trying new restaurants and cuisines but was never a good cook. In fact, I barely knew how to cook! When I got into learning about nutrition and healthier cooking techniques, I thought about getting into this industry professionally and to do so, I thought I would definitely benefit from formal training."
Why did you choose to come to Le Cordon Bleu London?
"I thought about getting further education in the nutrition space, but I was keen on also trying my hand at improving my cooking technique. That's when my sister came across the Nutrition, Gastronomy and Food trends course online and immediately sent it to me. It was a perfect combination of everything I was looking for in a course. I also thought it would be very interesting to learn this new style of cooking techniques and trends from one of the most prestigious and traditional culinary schools in the world. I’d be learning from some great chefs and have access to premium ingredients and insight, plus I loved London. The food scene here is incredible and the city has such a variety in what it offers. I had just completed my undergraduate degree in London and wanted to stay here and potentially grow my career here, as there is so much scope to grow and opportunity to network with and learn from leaders in the food industry in this city, so finding out that this course is offered at Le Cordon Bleu London was perfect."
How did your culinary training studying at Le Cordon Bleu London help you to start your career?
"I gained the confidence of being able to develop recipes backed by solid nutrition principles. I learned new techniques and about a variety of ingredients that I had not come across before. From the food trends and marketing side of things, I understood what was needed to keep one’s brand relevant through the years. We also had guest teachers from various parts of the industry who I went ahead and actually worked with and continue working with while building Volonté. Having received my training from such a prestigious school has also helped people to trust my taste and ability to build this business."
What advice would you give to someone looking to follow in your footsteps?
"To go for it. I would say no amount of training, learning, taking advice etc. is actually as educational as taking the leap and learning from the process of physically doing it yourself. I would definitely recommend getting formal training like I did as it's very important to understand the basics of an industry before you step into it. Of course, taking that leap of faith comes with great risks, but the rewards are as great if not greater. We hear this a lot in school when we’re younger and never take it seriously, but I would say it's an important principle to abide by - don't be afraid to make mistakes, because the fear of failure will never let you do anything. There is nothing wrong in making a mistake, in fact it is a sign that at least you tried. I promise you will learn a great deal and it will help more than fail you in many ways. I would also say to try and meet / network with as many people from the industry as you can. They share insight from experiences that you might not have had yet and can help you prepare for situations that might come your way. Lastly, don’t get let down by negative feedback. It's never pleasant to receive, but take it as constructive criticism on how you can improve."
What does Le Cordon Bleu represent for you in a few words?
"One of the best institutes for anyone looking to enter the food and beverage world. The courses offered are not easy and you have to work hard, but along the way you meet many interesting people and are part of a great community which you can continue learning from even after you graduate."
How would you describe your current role?
"Co-founder and Owner of Cafe Volonté."
How did you get into this role?
"Started my own company with the help of my friend and co-founder."
What does your day-to-day look like?
"Every day is very different! Being in hospitality means that you don't quite have a fixed schedule. I try to stay active and exercise four to five times a week and practise what I preach through the Volonté brand. Some days I’m behind the laptop doing admin, some days I'm making coffee and food and serving customers, and some days I'm fixing a pipe burst in the cafe! Truly no structure or routine, but that's what I love about the job. Everyday is different and new."
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
"Being an owner in a hospitality business means that whether you like it or not, you are involved in many day-to-day activities while having many administrative and brand related responsibilities as well. The very part that I love about the job, having so many different roles and everyday looking different to the other, is also probably its biggest challenge. Having to juggle so many different things can take its toll sometimes."
What is your inspiration?
"I find inspiration in many different ways, through friends, family, travel, my staff that all help fuel my desire to make healthy eating and a balanced lifestyle easily available for more people in London and the world eventually. Helping my close loved ones adopt the food and nutrition principles I believe in gives me the confidence to get my values out into the world and hopefully give many others access to it too."
What part of the role are you most passionate about?
"Developing new products and interacting with a variety of people every day. I am forever wanting to try new things food related that I can hopefully find more inspiration from and innovate further."
Do you have anything exciting coming up in the future?
"We are looking to open two more sites of Volonté in central London this year!"
Inspired by Vidushi's journey? Find out how you can follow in her footsteps by finding out more about our Diploma in Gastronomy, Nutrition and Food Trends, or by visiting our programmes page to view the full list of courses available and start your culinary journey today. You can also listen to Vidushi's episode of Beyond Food & Wine: A Le Cordon Bleu Podcast.