At that time, Paddle Nepal was just starting out, and under the guidance of Nim, Paddle Nepal’s owner, Keshav worked his way up from being a new trainee cleaning the boathouse and distributing flyers, to being an experienced guide running big rivers and leading trips. For Keshav, working as a river guide was everything he had built it up to be. He was active, outdoors, having fun, meeting new people and building new skills. He loved sharing Nepal’s amazing landscapes, resources and communities with tourists, taking pride in his own country. He started to look forward to using the skills and experience he gained at Paddle Nepal to find seasonal work overseas. But, a few years into his career, a shoulder injury and a British wife wanting to move back to her home, meant that Keshav had to start thinking about life off the river.
Keshav’s move to UK surprised everyone, especially himself. Initially reluctant to leave the country and job that he loved, his wife eventually persuaded Keshav to give her home a try. So, in 2012, they packed their bags, left
the Himalayas behind, and arrived on the Wirral for the coldest and wettest summer on record. Aside from miserable weather, work was hard to find and the couple were pretty much relying on family to feed and house them. Just as they were starting to wonder whether they had made the right decision in moving to the UK, Keshav came up with an idea. He told his wife that if he couldn’t find a job in the UK, he would make one for himself. So, knowing that his Nepalese recipes were going down a storm with friends and family, he decided to begin Momo Cooking.
Happily, it turns out that the people of the Wirral are as crazy for momos and dal bhat as the Nepalese. His classes are well attended, and his stalls are always a sell out. But for
Keshav, Momo Cooking is about much more than good food. It is an opportunity to build links between his home in Nepal and his
new life in the UK, and to support his communities on both sides of the Himalayas. He uses locally sourced, fresh, organic ingredients in his classes, promoting the local farming industry through his favourite dishes from home. Alongside sharing Nepalese recipes, Keshav is also keen to promote Nepal more generally. His enthusiasm for all things Nepali has lead to him being invited to talk in schools and churches about his country and the people, customs and culture there. Of course, people are also interested in Keshav’s own story too, and often can’t imagine how someone can jump from being a farmer, to a whitewater guide, to a cooking teacher. Keshav explains that for him there was no sense of ‘jumping’ at all, but rather a sense of natural progression as each stage of his life has emerged from, and built upon, the stages before. In this way, Momo Cooking really is a culmination of all of the influences, skills and experiences in Keshav’s life. From his childhood he developed the strong work ethic that has underpinned his success on both the river and in the kitchen. Through his parents, he received enough education to complete the qualifications and paperwork involved in food businesses in the UK. From being part of Paddle Nepal from the beginning, he learned that growing a business requires hard work and commitment, and from the river he developed the instruction, communication and customer service skills he now uses in his cooking lessons, as well as excellent knife skills from chopping veg on the beach! Finally, and perhaps most importantly, all of these factors have given him an overall sense of pride and gratitude towards his country and its people. It is this that will motivate him to continue to go on promoting Nepal through Momo Cooking, one momo at a time if necessary, until everyone in the UK appreciates just how wonderful his country is.