Q&A with Nepalese cook Ram Magar

Friendly faces of the Himalaya | Sue Badyari
Friendly faces of the Himalaya | Sue Badyari

Ram Magar (above, centre) has been working as a cook for World Expeditions since 1993. Living near Kathmandu, he works on a variety of World Expeditions trips. He enjoys the work, especially the interaction with clients, and he makes a mean khapse (“cup-say”; a fried flour desert). If you’re lucky, Ram will be working your trip. Namaste.


1. Where do you live?

I stay in Bhaktapur, Nepal.


2. Do you have a family?

I have my wife, a son and a daughter. My daughter is married and staying with her husband.


3. How much time do you spend away from your family on trekking expeditions?

Normally I will stay away from my family for 80–90 days each year.


4. What made you want to become a cook?

I worked as a kitchen boy in a trekking office for four years. I always liked to cook meals and serve to people. I am happy that people loved what I cooked for them. I was also satisfied with my work, so I decided to continue with it. Later, I was promoted as a cook and still love to expand my cooking skills.


5. Do you have formal training or was it all learned “on the job”?

Once I was promoted as a cook, I took cooking training for three months. The rest was all I learned on the job.


6. What’s the highest place (altitude) you have cooked?

I have cooked meals at high camp (approx. 6,000m) during Mera Peak via Amphu Labtsa trip.


7. What is the hardest thing to prepare at altitude?

It is difficult to make chow mein and momo.


8. What is the easiest thing to prepare at altitude?

Soup, daal (lentil), and rice are the easiest things to prepare at altitude.


9. What are your three most important tools for cooking?

Pressure cooker, spatula and stove/ gas stove.


10. What do Westerners like most of what’s on the menu?

Pizza, sandwich, french fries and Nepali daal (lentil) and rice.


11. What do you miss most when you’re on a trekking trip?

I miss my family during trekking.


12. What deserts do you make?

Apple pie, apple crumble, cake etc.


13. Do you make butter tea? Do you add any special ingredients?

Yes I do. I use milk, salt, tea leaves and butter.


14. Do the meals you make include anything that is from the Sherpa culture?

Yes I do make khapse, Sherpa stew, etc.


15. How hard is it to secure locally grown fresh food?

It depends on season as sometimes we can get fresh food en route. Potato is available everywhere.


16. Do you experiment with dishes or are they all pretty standardised?

Sometimes it depends on what is available, and I use my own imagination.

nepal trekking, Ram Magar, nepal sherpa, nepal adventure, world expeditions nepal

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