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Focus on Flavor: A spotlight on a refugee home cook, Renuka Chettri, from Bhutan

“Cooking is my hobby. I could do it all day.

For everything in cooking my teacher was my elder sister. She taught me everything. Even when I did not know how to cook, she appreciated me on the weekends, she would tell me to cook and they would be so nice and tell me I did good. I would get some money if I did some work. I learned to create my own recipes as I grew up. I learned to do anything and just make up new recipes.

Later, it became a good pastime as a hobby. After, I did cooking class in Kathmandu from Abhiyan Tours and Travels, after Indian Cuisine Bakery and Continental. But I am not good at baking since I didn’t have an oven at home to bake with.

I enjoy everything I cook. And I love feeding. If there is someone to eat it, I love cooking more. One of my favorite foods is momo [Nepali dumpling].

Cooking is important. Not only cultural but healthy food. Mostly [Bhutanese] people like to cook fresh and eat. They cook morning and evening. This saves money because you do not have to spend on fast food. In the past, ladies were the housewives and they would stay home cooking. But still cooking goes on with our generation, but maybe not the younger Americanized generation.”

[Top photo: Renuka pictured with local chef Dan Wu. Photo by Steve Pavey.]

Renuka Chettri was paired with Lexington chef Kukie from Jasmine Rice for KRM’s Passport to Flavor fundraiser event in Lexington on June 24, 2016. KRM Lexington will host this event each year.