Crimson Catch Up: Nick DiGiovanni '19

Nick DiGiovanni '19, a former member of Harvard's varsity sailing program and club hockey team, is pursuing his passion for cooking on FOX's hit television show, MasterChef. That passion led Nick to create his own concentration at Harvard, Food and Climate, while co-founding the startup Voodles through the Harvard innovation lab. Voodles was a finalist for the 2019 Harvard President's Innovation Challenge.

You can catch Nick on MasterChef each Wednesday at 8pm EST on FOX (photos courtesy FOX).

 

Title & Employer: Co-Founder and CEO, Voodles
House: Quincy
Concentration: Food and Climate
Sport: Sailing, Club Hockey


When I think about my time at Harvard, the first thing that comes to mind is…

Friends. Without a doubt. Harvard can really crush some people, and without an incredible group of friends to push through everything with, it’s not an easy place. Great friends make all the difference. 


Away from athletics, I…

Did a great deal of cooking whenever possible. Additionally, I did countless dawn patrol surf trips at around 5am with friends, which provided many unforgettable experiences.

What I’m most proud of during my time at Harvard is…

Creating my own special concentration. Working towards this virtually added several extra classes worth of work to my schedule, and having such a supportive group of faculty backing me during this process was truly humbling. 

Harvard helped me to…

Grow in so many unthinkable ways. I didn’t know where I’d fit in when I arrived, so it forced me to create my own space and tailor my experience in a way that I know changed my life forever, particularly with regard to food.

Being a student-athlete taught me…

To rethink the way I was a team player. I think I was trying to do too much certain times while at Harvard, and this led to not being the teammate that I always strive to be. It was good to reevaluate myself a bit during this process.
 

What surprised me most about Harvard was that…

Everybody really was there for a different reason. I went in with the expectation that every student would be chasing after some similar, template dream. I was very, very wrong.
 

I discovered my passion for cooking when…

I used to watch my grandmother and great-grandmother in the kitchen. But, the first time I was able to spend some time in a professional kitchen, I also got this rush that’s somewhat indescribable… somewhat akin, I’d suspect, to walking out on a huge football field with bright lights and fans everywhere.
 

Harvard helped me to develop my passion for cooking by…

Letting me create my own path to study food, thereby suddenly allowing me to study what I love rather than some preexisting track that didn’t necessarily suit my needs as a student.

 

I applied to be on MasterChef because…

So many friends told me to! And I’m a competitive person, as most of us are at Harvard, so I thought it’d be fun to cook in a more competitive environment while learning from the best.


Being a student-athlete has helped me on MasterChef…

Because I’d been inured to stress and time pressures. While others around me seemed to crumble at the thought of having to cook a dish in such a short period of time, I loved it.

 

MasterChef has helped me become a better cook…

First and foremost by surrounding me with people of all ages, something one doesn’t typically get to do in college. I thoroughly enjoyed working on a team with people who came from such different backgrounds, all of whom taught me new techniques and ways of thinking.
 

Winning MasterChef would mean…

The world to me. Really. I think it would give that validation—not that I necessarily need it given that I’m fortunate enough to have people around me that believe in my pursuit of excelling in the food world—that I’ve chosen the right path in life. 

 

After MasterChef I plan to
Work on my startup Voodles, and ultimately attend Harvard Business School through the 2+2 program in a few years. On the side, there are several opportunities surfacing through MasterChef, so I may chase a few of those over the coming months and even years. 

The most important piece of advice I can give current student-athletes is to
Have fun, and enjoy EVERY last moment that Harvard gives you. The good, the bad, everything. The further you get in college, the more and more of a blur it becomes, and wherever you may be in the process, you’re going to look back and miss it. I promise.

The Harvard Varsity Club is…
‚Äč
My team for life. 


-- Your Team for Life --