Mentor Spotlight: Gaya Meswani

Harvard mentor Gaya Meswani always assumed she’d be a lawyer, doctor, or find a career related to psychology: She never could have guessed that by the end of her sophomore year, she’d be working at a two-star Michelin restaurant.

Gaya is a Mind, Brain, and Behavior major at Harvard, a course of study that meets at the intersection of psychology, neuroscience, and linguistics. 

But the true kicker is her minor: she’s trying to create one…in Food. 

On how she got into cooking, Gaya says, “it was always a passion, but I didn't really realize I could make this a career, especially given that I don't go to culinary school.” 

That all changed when she took “Science and Cooking,” a general education course at Harvard that marries its two titular disciplines, showing students the art behind great cuisine. 

She took the initiative to speak with guest lecturers and professors and take other courses about food history, food policy, and fermentation, and soon, Gaya realized it wasn’t too late for her to dive into her dream career.

She cold emailed chefs and restaurants and landed a short internship at Dirt Candy, an inventive vegan restaurant in New York. Next, she contacted Dan Barber, executive chef of the two-star michelin restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barnes and landed their coveted summer research internship, specifically designed for college students who were eager to learn.

“I think they're one of the first places in the world to really commit to farm-to-table in the way that they do, commit to a holistic kind of agriculture and rethinking food systems in the way that they do.”

Over the summer, Gaya will be doing research into fermentation, “into how to store the food that they grow on their incredible farm and how to keep it as fresh as possible for service.”

She describes it as her dream job. And she only just turned 21. 

With Curious Cardinals, Gaya has the agency to teach what she loves – whether it’s creating a class on the science of Mexican cooking or introducing a group of third graders to the wonders of neuroscience. 

Want to learn from a mentor like Gaya? Schedule a brainstorm call to start exploring or discovering your passion today!

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