Cooking with Pride - Chef Rasika Venkatesa

Cooking with Pride - Chef Rasika Venkatesa

At Cookd, we believe that the kitchen is a place where passion, creativity, and diversity come together. We're highlighting the inspiring journey of Chef Rasika Venkatesa, a culinary maestro who has been making waves in the culinary world.

Rasika's love for cooking began in her childhood kitchen in India, where she would whip up dishes like chocolate mousse and spaghetti. Recognizing her passion, her father encouraged her to pursue a Bachelor's degree in Hotel Management from Manipal University. It was there that she fell in love with the practical aspects of cooking and decided to make it her career.

Her first taste of the professional culinary world was during a summer internship at Taj Coromandel, a luxury hotel in Chennai, India. Despite the male-dominated environment and the occasional discouraging comment, Rasika was undeterred. She was determined to prove herself and took it upon herself to apply for internships at fine-dining restaurants in San Francisco and Australia.

Her determination paid off when she landed a job at Thomas Keller's three-Michelin-star restaurant in Napa, California. She moved to Napa without a concrete plan, driven by her passion for cooking and her desire to learn from the best in the industry.

Rasika's journey then led her to Mourad, a Michelin star restaurant in San Francisco known for its Moroccan cuisine. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, including struggling to pay rent, Rasika found joy in cooking and serving delicious food to people. Her resilience and dedication did not go unnoticed, and she was soon promoted to the position of Sous Chef.

At the young age of 24, Rasika was offered the position of Head Chef at Mourad. Despite the challenges that came with the role, she embraced them with open arms. She believes that these challenges have been an integral part of her journey and enjoys every single day of her work.

As an LGBTQ+ chef, Rasika's journey is not just about her culinary achievements. It's also about her courage to live authentically and her commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in the culinary world. She embraces who she is and her story is a testament to the power of passion, resilience, and authenticity.

At Cookd, we couldn't agree more. That's why we're sharing these chefs' recipes and stories with you. Because food is a universal language, and there's always a seat at our table for everyone.