Santosh is 38 years old, he was born in Jhangajholi, Sindhuli and grew up in the district’s headquarters Sindhuli Madi with his 2 younger brothers.
As many young people do in Nepal, Santosh left home at an early age to seek work in Kathmandu in the hotel industry. Moving from place to place, he worked long hours pot-washing until one day he was offered a chance hotel to become a chef in a hotel. With a love for food and a desire to cook, it wasn’t something he was going to turn down.
After years of working as a chef, Santosh was offered the opportunity to work abroad. But this wasn’t just a typical contract offer. It involved going to work as a field chef in Iraq in the middle of the Gulf War. For the next 10 years, he worked alongside the American forces in dangerous conditions and blistering heat, gradually being promoted all the way from junior chef to the prestigious position of head chef.
On returning to Nepal, Santosh decided to turn his passion for food and hospitality into his own business. Using the money saved from his time in Iraq, Santosh set up his own café named “Sunlight food cafe” in Rabhibhavan near Korean embassy, Kathmandu. However, business was tough in the capital and, after a difficult period, he had to close down.
But this did not stop his desire to keep running his own café. Combined with his desire to return to the clean airs of home, Santosh came back to Sindhuli and set up the now-beloved Sun Shine Food Café in Guthbazar which he is in its fourth year now.
“I’m happy to be here at the end of everything, Sindhuli is a beautiful place with clean air and great people and I am proud of where I come from.”
He also encourages any visitor to come and enjoy a curry with him!