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Posted: December 3, 2019

Giving back to others through food

College of the Rockies People: Their Courage, Curiosity, and Contributions

For College of the Rockies’ Hospitality Management student Mandeep (Mandy) Mahajan, cooking for others goes beyond just providing nutrients. It is a way to connect with others.

“It is my culture to share food with others,” Mahajan (pictured) said. “It gives me spiritual pleasure to cook for people. I was raised in a culture and a religion where it is essential to consider other’s hunger and need before your own.”

Mahajan’s love of cooking brought him from Phagwara, in the Punjab State of India, to Invermere.

“I have a dream to have my own restaurant and for this dream, I need hospitality training with all aspects of this industry. I found this course to be a great idea for my future career,” he said.

Back home in India, Mahajan cooked family meals on Sundays, often trying out new and interesting combinations like using custard powder and chocolate powder in Indian chai.

Since arriving in Invermere, he regularly cooks for his seven roommates but has also had the opportunity to prepare food for others in the community. At an end-of-the-season party at Panorama he prepared food for 160 people, and at the college’s recent Diwali celebration in Invermere, he cooked for 150 attendees.

“People show me a lot of love and respect after eating my food,” he said. “The best compliment I have received is from a business owner in Calgary who offered me an Indian restaurant there. I could not do that and also study, so I had to decline.”

Mahajan credits his passion for cooking to his culture, his religion, and his mom.

“My mom used to tell me that when you eat food, you can know about the nature and mood of the person who prepared it,” Mahajan said. “Food has a soul which gives it a different taste whether you eat it at home, at a restaurant, or at a temple.”

Though, in keeping with his religion, Mahajan’s primary goal is to serve others, cooking brings personal satisfaction as well.

“Cooking for others makes me feel positive and pleased that I am doing something for mankind,” he added. “I am grateful to have the talent to cook for any number of people and am glad I am able to use that in a right way, by offering food to everyone.”

Mahajan will complete his Hospitality Management program in the spring of 2020. He’s unsure where he will end up, but he knows his future involves cooking for others.

“I am loving Canada but missing India as well,” he said. “If I stay in Invermere I hope to own a restaurant or a catering service with about 70% Indian food and 30% other food items.”

Photos submitted by College of the Rockies

College of the Rockies

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