Chef Santosh Dahal is a hard working man. He wakes up every morning at dawn, gets on his motor bike and rides all the way from his house in Bhaktapur to Swostishree Gurukul IB World School, which is located in Sanobharyang.

Chef Extraordinaire

Here he heads the kitchen of the big school and as soon as he arrives, he starts planning for the day. He is a busy man all day- cooking, planning and making sure everything cooked is fresh and tasty. When not in the kitchen, he comes over to the dining hall and talks to the students as they eat, to get their feedback. And all the while he has the biggest happy smile in school. No wonder why he is loved by everybody in school and he receives cards, thank you notes and little presents from the children all the time, which he treasures with his life.

“I am blessed to be working here ,” the chef says, “to be working in a school which I love so much and doing what I love doing best.”

The Managing Director of the school Ms. Mina Maharjan  is equally fond of him. And when not in her personal office, Ms. Maharjan is found in the kitchen most part of the day making sure that the children are provided the best possible food possible.

              Santosh Dahal was born in Sudal, Bhaktapur and he still lives there. He spent his early childhood with his mother’s sister and her family. He has fond memories of his childhood with his aunt. 

“She took me forcefully from my home”, Santosh laughs. “She loved me much as a baby!”

 “We didn’t have a boarding school in the locality”, the chef shares, “ but we did have a government run school in the vicinity. And we all studied there. And I appeared for my SLC examination from the school.”

Santosh’s early experiences of cooking is bringing firewood and water for his aunt as she cooked. Eventually he also learnt to cook from her. And he thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

“The first time I actually cooked was rice, when I was about ten years old ! And we had pumpkin in the house and that’s what I cooked!”, the chef laughs.

Apart from cooking, Santosh also loved other forms of creativity like crafts and drawing. He still has a knack for drawing today and creates beautiful fruit carvings which he proudly displays in events at school.

After his SLC examinations he tried different things but soon found out that his biggest passion was culinary. Santosh’s father had been working in big hotels as a chef and when he found out his son had similar interests, he was delighted. Soon his father got Santosh into Hotel Shehanshah as a cook. In the process, he was invited to be a part of a new restaurant at the United World Trade Centre in Tripureshwar. He joined in as a chef there. He worked in Hotel Shehanshah in the day time and at the United World Trade Centre in the evenings. Everyone loved him at both the places and Santosh was further inspired.

“If you do what you enjoy, you never get bored, you never get tired, you never get sick!” Santosh shares.

Today after years of experience,  Santosh is a well established Chef with profound knowledge in his fields. He has been with Swostishree Gurukul IB World School since the initial phases of the establishment.

“I love cooking for children” Santosh’s eyes twinkles, “When you enjoy doing what you do, waking up every morning is an excitement!”

Santosh says , “The children here are just beautiful ! I am so fortunate to be working here! If they are not too happy with anything, they come to talk to me and I address it immediately !”

Cooking for children can be difficult. Especially if you are cooking healthy and nutritious food. Santosh accepts the challenge with happiness and makes sure the food prepared is fresh, hygienic , nutritious and fun for the children to eat. Everything  cooked or baked is made fresh at school. 

“We just get the raw materials from outside” the chef says, “It’s important to get all the children eat healthy all the time ! It’s challenging and I am constantly in the lookout for new ways to cook and prepare.”

The cafeteria at Swostishree is a very happy place for the children and the teachers alike.

Everyone likes walking to the cafeteria to try out Chef Santosh’s latest culinary creation and to see his big broad smile !