Unlike most Duke’s Mayonnaise fans, chef Vivek Surti discovered it later in life. As a first generation American, he grew up with Hellmann’s, and it was simply used for sandwiches along “with the other American condiments in the house” that his Indian parents stocked. It wasn’t until the Mayogate debate that took over food blogs in 2013 (arguing the superiority of Hellmann’s versus Duke’s versus Kewpie) that Surti started to consider that a mayonnaise is not always just a mayonnaise.
Living in Nashville, he started noticing Duke’s Mayonnaise cropping up throughout the culinary scene. Owners of food trucks around the city sang Duke’s praises. As Surti began cooking for the Nashville community, sourcing ingredients and products from the South became more important to him. Duke’s, he reasons, is a Southern mayo. “It’s a delicious mayonnaise—even though [my family] doesn’t have the heritage—but I don’t remember the last time I bought a mayonnaise that wasn’t Duke’s.”