Rohini Dey

Founder, Owner

Vermilion Restaurant


Hospitality/Food Services

Member since:


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A leading restaurateur, a proponent of Indian cuisine with her unique Latin twist, and an avid supporter of women –  former World Bank economist and McKinsey & Co. management consultant Rohini Dey straddles the worlds of business and philanthropy across the US and India.
Rohini’s career spans several phases:

  • She taught in Academia, has a Master’s degree in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics, and a Doctorate in Management Science from the University of Texas.
  • She worked at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. where she managed projects in foreign investment policy and coauthored a book on infrastructure privatization.
  • At McKinsey & Co., her management consulting project experience and knowledge development spanned a range of industries, primarily hi-tech and telecom, with a focus on growth.
  • As an Entrepreneur, Dey combines her business credentials with her passion for food by establishing Vermilion restaurants in Chicago and in the heart of Manhattan (for 10 years).
  • As a Writer, Speaker, and Women’s Activist she has written for the Chicago Sun Times, Huffington Post, op-eds for Crain’s Business NYC & Chicago (#1 op-ed 2016), for McKinsey & Co., and for The World Bank. She has spoken and keynoted on women’s parity, ownership, leadership and peak performance at their forums, including for Politico Women Rule, The Global Economic Summit (US State Dept.), TEDx, NATO summit among others. She founded and leads the James Beard Foundation Women’s Leadership Program.

Rohini was inspired to break away from her management consulting career by a desire to go entrepreneurial and a conviction that Indian cuisine in the United States was confined to stereotypes and below potential. She created and developed the Vermilion Indian-Latin concept and cuisine. Apart from leading entrepreneurial activities across her NYC (for ten years) & Chicago entities, Rohini shapes the culinary evolution of her restaurant.

At inception, Vermilion was acclaimed as “Best Restaurant” by Chicago Magazine, Travel & Leisure, Town & Country, USA Today, Bon Appetit, Wine Enthusiast, 3 stars Vetel/Tribune, 4 Stars NY Daily News among others. Rohini has been profiled in The Financial Times, Time, Oprah Magazine, Fortune, FSB, Business Week, Esquire, Crain’s Business, Sante, Shelter, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, BBC World, Forbes, Inc, More, Vogue, Dow Jones, Inc among others. Rohini was awarded the “Woman of Distinction” by Children’s Hope, Philanthropy Award by American India Foundation, “Entrepreneur of the year – India” by the City of Chicago, WCO Women’s Leadership Award by JP Morgan Chase, and WE Culinary & Women Empowerment Award. She is on the Board of Trustees of the James Beard Foundation and Advisory Council of the Illinois Restaurateurs Association. Rohini’s entrepreneurial journey was profiled by CNBC on the “Consumed” restaurant business series.

As a woman restaurateur, Rohini is a staunch supporter of women in business and education of girls on a global level. To redress the “gastro-ceiling” in her industry, she cofounded the James Beard Foundation Women in Culinary Leadership, Women’s Entrepreneurship, and Owning It programs, which she leads with the JBF backed by nationwide restaurateurs. She founded the non-profit (MSEdG – Educate Girls Globally), to which all her writing proceeds go. She is a senior donor of the American India Foundation (AIF) and is an active member of The Chicago Network (TCN), International Women’s Forum (IWF) and the Women’s Forum of New York (WFNY). She hosts and has served as a keynote speaker for business conferences and lifestyle events across innovation, culinary, entrepreneurship, and women in business. Rohini stays connected to academia by engaging actively with the Entrepreneurial departments of leading Chicago and New York Business Schools (University of Chicago, Kellogg, Columbia University).


Rohini is known in the lifestyle space (Women of Influence – Michigan Avenue magazine, 50 most beautiful Chicagoans – Chicago Magazine, Beautiful Homes – Chicago Social, Entertaining with Flair – Chicago Magazine). On a personal level, Rohini is equally passionate about all her babies (her daughters and restaurants), is an avid reader, still loves to dine out, enjoys travel, running (the Chicago Marathon, Half Ironman), amateur chess and squash, and has accomplished a personal dream – climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.


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