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Field Notes Issue 13: Interview with Nish Nadaraja

by Joey Wolosz | Published March 7, 2022

There is someone I’d like you to meet, Nish Nadaraja.

Nish is known for being on the founding team at Yelp! where he led branding and community. He has since gone on to be a consultant and advisor to brands like Method, WUNDER, and Marine Layer. He also enjoys his “career” as a Dad to a fourteen-year-old.

His love of wine and food is evident as he is a valued wine club member and an investor in a few Bay Area restaurants including Noosh, Blue Barn, and Foreign Cinema.

In his spare time, he interviews interesting personalities for his newsletter project, In Search Of Lost Answers. It is worth a look-see. In a fun twist, he agreed to be interviewed by me.

JW: You are an investor in a few Bay Area restaurants, what do you enjoy cooking?

NN: Ha, that is one of the reasons I am an investor, precisely so that I don’t have to cook that much! I am lucky to have my wife Jane, who wears the chef’s apron in the house most of the time, but I do like helping out. There’s a rhythm and a socialness to cooking together, along with the preparation. I could eat Italian every single night so I do enjoy using our Philips Pasta Maker for something as simple as spaghetti and meatballs, plenty of garlic bread nearby.

JW: Aside from your day-to-day business, what is your creative outlet?

NN: It’s funny being interviewed by you because that’s also one of my own favorite pastimes: just being able to meet interesting people. While at home with that thing we’ve been dealing with the past two years, I started an email newsletter called In Search Of Lost Answers, where I ask each guest the same Proust-like questions. The goal was to do a year’s worth, one per week, and we are on “nissue” 45 of the project!

JW: Friends and family excluded, who are two people you’d like to share a long and lingering meal with?

NN: I am still caught up in the seventies so Andy Warhol and Mick Jagger. If Muhammad Ali and Robert De Niro dropped by for dessert, I would not turn them away.

JW: What would you serve?

NN: Caviar and potato chips to start. Something ostentatious like Lobster Thermidor. A cheese course. All paired with Gentleman Farmer wines, of course.

JW: Music is a daily part of our lives, with Jeff’s clarinet and my piano and accordion, what music/musician are you currently interested in?

NN: I will forever be listening to 60s and 70s rock but sometimes the new sounds get to me. Currently, I have been listening to the latest albums from Cassandra Jenkins, The Felice Brothers, and Fiona Apple. I like the old gods as well so have “Dr. John’s Gumbo” and “Mose Allison Sings” on rotation.

JW: Was there a moment when you first made a connection with wine and food?

NN: I did not even eat sushi until college and ordered my steak well done until I moved to New York in the late nineties! I would have to say it was back then when I worked in Soho and got to hang out at Balthazar in its first few years of opening. But it was not until I moved out to San Francisco and discovered Sonoma and Napa that I truly started paying attention to the chemistry and magic of food and wine.

JW: And from the Proust Questionnaire, #35:

What is your motto?

NN: It is more what I want on my epitaph but, “When he lived, he lived.