Chef Gita Kantrow may not be a well-known name in the Boston foodie scene, but that’s about to change, first with an appearance by Chef Kantrow at the 3rd Annual A Taste of Ethnic Boston, taking place on July 26, and then on August 1 as she begins her month-long residency at the “culinary incubator” and cocktail bar better known as Wink & Nod.
By the end of summer, foodies will be very familiar with Chef Kantrow and her flavorful Nepalese-American fusion cuisine.
“I was born in Nepal and lived there until I was nine, so those are the flavors I know best. Growing up on a farm, we didn’t eat a lot of meat; our diet was primarily rice, lentils and whatever vegetables we had. If I’d lived in the mountains the rice would have been replaced with polenta because corn was more plentiful in that region,” Chef Kantrow said in an interview with Color Magazine. The basic Nepalese food, she explained, consists of Dal Bhat Tarkari—which translates to lentil, rice & veggie or meat dish. Common spices used consists of cumin, coriander & turmeric. Food is usually cooked with mustard oil. “It was fresh, healthy food and as a young girl I didn’t like it at all. What child wants to eat healthy? It wasn’t until I grew older that I learned to really appreciate the food of my culture. Now I crave it because it is healthy and it still reminds me of home.”
Like a lot of the best chefs working in restaurants across the city, Chef Kantrow didn’t start out with dreams of working behind the line for a living. She actually studied sociology and Japanese at Bates College with the hope of getting a full-time office job of some kind when she got out. “I guess I was raised with the idea that a job meant working behind a desk from 9 to 5. Cooking was something I did for fun or to entertain; it wasn’t something you could do for a living.”
Thankfully, Chef Kantrow soon discovered that cooking wasn’t only a possible way to earn a living, but it also offered her a fecund field of opportunity to explore the similarities and difference between the culture she grew up in and the culture she lives in now. And it’s easy to understand that getting the chance to share her culture and cuisine with people during her residency at Wink & Nod is more than just a cool gig for Chef Kantrow. It’s a chance to truly make her mark in the city’s culinary scene.
“A Taste of Ethnic Boston” hosted by Get Konnected! takes place on Tuesday, July 26th 2016 from 5:30 to 8:00 PM at the Harborside Inn and Lounge at 185 State Street. Tickets are limited and are available for $20 each at www.getkonnected.com/atoeb3.