Rachana was born in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, a country that shares borders (and culinary traditions) with China and India. Rachana’s grandfather worked as an administrator for the king, and her husband, whom she married when she was sixteen years old and he was seventeen, had a grandfather who also worked for the king as a physician. Rachana’s father studied agriculture and oversaw the farming of a family owned property many miles from the capital. He would frequently send fresh food from the farm, which her mother and daughters-in-law would cook for her, her six siblings, and thirty to forty-five members of their extended family. From a young age, Rachana loved to cook and spent many hours watching her mother in the kitchen. She especially enjoyed learning the recipes that her mother had learned from her own parents that had been passed down over many generations. Rachana came to the US alone in 2006. She is now happy to live in Flushing with her husband and two of her grown children. She loves to share her food and her Nepalese heritage through the League of Kitchens as well as through Eat Offbeat, a catering company where she works as a chef. In February, 2018, Rachana cooked the first ever Nepalese dinner at the James Beard House, a huge honor for her and for the League of Kitchens!
I felt extraordinarily comfortable in Rachana's home. It was a privilege and honor to be welcomed so openly and generously, plus I learned A LOT about Nepali food and ingredients and about Rachana's family and unique cultural perspective. Everything she shared was very interesting. And I definitely think I can replicate a lot of these dishes at home, which is not what I expected. But they aren't nearly so intimidating now!”