Damira is originally from Samarkand, an ancient city that lies on the Silk Road, which she refers to as “the historic crossroads of East and West.” She loved growing up in such a diverse country where she learned to cook from her mother, grandmother, and their friends of many backgrounds. Damira and her husband left Uzbekistan in 2013 to be closer to their children, who were living in America, and to do something new—Damira believes it’s always important to try new things and to have many life experiences. While she was still in Uzbekistan, Damira was a doctor until her country’s mandatory retirement age of 55. Now she is doing what she loves most: hosting her friends for home-cooked meals. Damira loves to entertain friends from all over the world and to surprise them with new kinds of food and interesting conversations. She also loves exploring New York City and its many tastes, and meeting new people. Damira says her life has changed a lot since moving to NYC, and she loves everything about it. In May, 2018, Damira cooked the first ever Uzbek (and first ever Halal) dinner at the James Beard House, a huge honor for her and for the League of Kitchens!
I loved my first experience with League of Kitchens and cannot wait to tell everyone I know. I really enjoyed the small class and how personal Damira was--she really opened herself up, speaking about Uzbek culture, offering her own childhood stories growing up in Uzbekistan. I love that the focus is not just about food-- what makes this special is the human connection; I loved learning more about Damira, her family, and life in Uzbekistan.”