We are pleased to introduce Suraj Pradhan, one of the World Food Travel Association (WFTA)’s newly certified ambassadors. Suraj represents the interests of the WFTA in Nepal.
Suraj’s interest in the hospitality sector began in 2010 with his apprenticeship as a chef in Australia. Suraj’s passion deepened when he was awarded the Tourism Minister’s Student Achiever Award 2010. This award gave him the impetus to dream of his nation’s cuisine and food heritage. Following his passion for “root cuisine,” Nepalese food, he initiated the ‘Let’s talk about Nepalese Food’ 2013 campaign in Sydney and Nepal. He then began to write about Nepalese food in local newspapers and got a chance to be a monthly Nepalese food speaker in SBS Radio and contribute Nepalese recipes to SBS Food (Australia’s no.1 food network). His recipes have been featured in many cookbooks, recently by the famed US food writer Raghavan Iyer.
Then, Suraj Pradhan had the idea to use his experience and skills to further promote Nepalese food, which eventually led to his promotion of food tourism in Nepal. The country’s food heritage and food stories are unheard, undiscovered, and untold, a perfect recipe for food tourism.
At the end of 2016, he was part of the One Star House Party team that “conquered” Mount Everest Base Camp with a Pop-Up Restaurant led by British Chef James Sharman (ex-Noma) and Tom Aikens. Then, in 2017, he finally fulfilled his dream to organize the first Nepalese Food Festival in Sydney as Tasting Nepal 2017 and the first Nepalese Pop-Up Dinner in Brisbane. As the director of his company Two Tables, he has planned and organized several gastronomical events and started a food tourism and hospitality consulting company.
We sat down with Suraj to get to know him better.
WFTA: Tell us what your company does.
Suraj: We’ve got a bunch of great stories about how our work brings about positive outcomes around communities and what inspires us to kick off this business design. We are a creative and cultural enterprise focused on nurturing the development of individuals, businesses, and communities. We achieve outcomes through capacity building, intensive workshops, creating employment opportunities, training, events, marketing, innovation, and creativity.
WFTA: When and how did your interest in food/beverage tourism begin?
Suraj: I got involved with the hospitality sector as an apprentice chef in 2010 as I arrived in Sydney in 2009 from the land of Mount Everest; Nepal and become passionate about this industry when I received the Tourism Minister’s Student Achiever Award 2010 in Australia. Then, following my passion for food, I thought of my root cuisine and ways to promote it. Meanwhile, I studied food media in Sydney, then gradually taking various jobs in the hospitality industry. Eventually, I began to understand the importance of food in tourism and became determined to establish Nepal as a food hub from means of food tourism.
WFTA: What are your top 3 favorite food/beverage destinations and why do you like them?
This would be my favorite question for all the foodies out there. Rather than three particular places, in general, my favourite three food destinations are:
1. Europe- In Europe, my favorites are Italian, Spanish, and Greek cuisine as these cuisines are influencing the way people around the world think about food. Who doesn’t impressed by the Italian way of eating their food with love?
2. Asia: In Asia, I really want to go to Japan to observe how precisely the Japanese prepare their food. Bad eating is really impossible there and being a chef, I am watching Japanese cooking influences on the top chefs today.
3. Southeast Asia: Really nowadays, cuisines from Southeast Asia, Malaysian, Thai, Vietnamese, Filipino and Singaporean are attracting me as they are so delicious and have great stories to tell.
And another favourite destination is my own Nepal’s many parts. I really want to go every corner of the Nepal and search of food stories and find the mysteries.
WFTA: Why did you join the World Food Travel Association?
As this organisation is the leading authority of food and travel, it was a great place to come and learn how to become food & travel expert and also how to create economic opportunities for destinations. I’m most excited about the opportunities to collaborate on projects together.
Thank you, Suraj Pradhan. It’s a pleasure to offer you a seat at our table.