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Avi Szapiro

SYDA Foundation Board of Trustees

Avi Szapiro

Avi is the owner and executive chef of ROÌA, a restaurant in New Haven, Connecticut. The restaurant won an “excellent” rating from The New York Times in its first year and received praise for “culinary restraint” and “skill at extracting maximum flavor from a minimum of ingredients.”

Born in Colombia, South America, Avi apprenticed in Michelin-star restaurants in Paris and Lyon, France. As a consultant, he helped revitalize and rebrand the second-largest event space in Portland, Maine, for Howard Johnson, reconceived the menu and concept at the Interlaken Inn in Connecticut, and contributed to standards on nutrition and sustainable product sourcing for Kidfresh, a national brand focusing on healthy meals for children.

Avi attributes much of his career success to the experience and training he received while offering seva as a staff member for the SYDA Foundation. Starting in 2002, he served as a cook at Shree Muktananda Ashram. Three years later, Avi became the executive chef for the SYDA Foundation. Remaining in that role for six years, he also served as the Food Services Manager in Gurudev Siddha Peeth Ashram for eighteen months. An able leader, Avi managed the renovation of the three-thousand square-foot Ashram kitchen and introduced kitchen hygiene training to rural workers in India. While offering seva in Gurudev Siddha Peeth, he contributed to the development of an organic garden and developed cohesive and creative teams in a multicultural environment.

Avi studied at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and completed an Accelerated Executive Management program at INSEAD business school in Fontainebleau, France.

Avi lives in Connecticut.