From Veg Head to Meat Maven: Chef Parind Vora

By Megan Giller  |  October 23, 2013

As our meaty burger week continues, we'd like to highlight a few local chefs who ditched their vegetarian ways in favor of carnivorous pursuits. Yesterday we highlighted Sonya Cote, the force behind Hillside Farmacy and Eden East, who grew up in a vegetarian commune. Today it’s Parind Vora, the chef and owner of Restaurant Jezebel and recently launched Tapasitas. Among other dishes, Vora serves exotic meats like kangaroo, octopus and woodcock on his menus. Here’s what he had to say about his eating habits,

“I grew up eating vegetarian Indian food. I didn’t eat meat for the first time until I was 18. The first meat I tried was a hamburger from McDonald’s on a school field trip. In my mind it was a big deal. I didn’t like it at all. I just tasted salt. It didn’t taste like anything and it was really dry and crumbly. Then I tried steak again and again. But not knowing how to order it, I ordered it well done. And I couldn’t even chew it. I was almost gagging. There was no mental guilt, though.

“Then I stopped trying to eat meat for a little while. And I was working at this restaurant, Hennessy’s in Columbia, South Carolina, and the food just smelled good. So I tasted it. It was a steak that was medium rare, and it was delicious. Ever since then, I’ve tried everything.”