Award winning Nepali cookbook writer Jyoti Pathak
Born and raised in Kathmandu, Nepal, Jyoti Pathak is an award winning Nepali cookbook writer, currently based in the United States. The young graduate of Home Economics from the MS University of Baroda, India, went to the US with her newly married husband in the year 1970. One who used to teach at the National Vocation College in Sano Thimi, Nepal soon became a complete housewife, cooking for the family and friends and raising children, after she went to live with her husband in the US. Although she was interested in cooking since her early childhood, it was during her first years in the US that pulled her towards the wide world of cooking, especially Nepali cuisines.
And of course, the credit also goes to her husband Kamal Pathak’s craving for Nepali cuisine which made this new bride cook Nepali food for her family as well as friends where she began experimenting with various recipes, ingredients and spices that were available to her. The experimenting continued for few years and it was only after her children left for college, she began her journey of writing an inclusive book of Nepali cuisines. It was her desire to introduce Nepali cuisine to the first as well as the succeeding generations of Nepalese living away from home that inspired her to write her award winning cookbook “Taste of Nepal” published by Hippocrene Books in 2007. The idea of writing Nepali cookbook came to her when she found some Indian cookbooks but not a single Nepali cookbook in the bookstores.
Although she began experimenting with the Nepali cuisines, it was often difficult due to lack of availability of the spices in the place they lived which made her depend on friends and family bringing ingredients such as masala, gundruk, tama, etc. from Nepal. The book features more than 350 authentic Nepali recipes and has a segment dedicated to the well known Nepali herbs and spices along with Nepalese kitchen equipment and some interesting illustrations. It also talks about Nepal’s history and culture and the way the Nepali food had been influenced by Tibetan and Indian cooking. After around forty years of introducing and familiarizing the people in the US and other parts of the world to the diverse Nepalese culture and cuisines, her book received prestigious Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Best Foreign Cuisine Book in the US in the year 2008. It was also awarded with the Special Award of the Jury at award ceremony in London.
Besides being an award winning cookbook writer, Pathak is also an active member of The Association of Nepalese in the Americas (founding member), The World Pluralism Group and The Southern Tier Cultural Association. Moreover, she led the cookbook committee and organized the production of the first Nepali cookbook which was self-published in America in 1986. The book named “Nepal Cookbook” is now available from Snow Lion Publication.
As an effort to preserve and promote Nepali history, diverse culture and culinary heritage to the world, Pathak has not only published her book but also writes a blog with the same name, Taste of Nepal where you can find her authentic Nepali recipes along with other diverse contents such as Nepali vegetables, spices and herbs along with some cultural items and ways of life of the people in Nepal with wonderful pictures to accompany and do justice to the text.
She enjoys travelling, gardening and volunteering in the local non-profit organizations along with cooking for her family and friends. A mother of three children, Pathak lives in Western New York with her doctor husband.
For further details and information on the author and her cookbook, visit www.tasteofnepalcookbook.com.