Today, we'd like you to meet Chef Nimesh Maharjan from Tuscan Kitchen (Portsmouth). Chef Maharjan wasn't born into a family of foodies, nor did he know as a young child that he wanted to become a world-class chef. In fact, his native country of Nepal is far better known as the ultimate mountaineering destination rather than any sort of culinary magnet. But as a child who grew up in the shadow of the omnipresent Mount Everest, Chef Maharjan is no stranger to staring down seemingly impossible obstacles.
In 2006, Chef Maharjan came to Nantucket Island, a small yet affluent island, at the suggestion of a cousin who was already working there. He happened to land a position in the kitchen of Chef Charles Salliou. Chef Salliou saw potential in Chef Maharjan, and he took it upon himself to personally train his new apprentice in the techniques of classical cuisine. So adept was Chef Maharjan in the kitchen that he soon caught the attention of Chef Todd English, who hired him to work as his Chef de Cuisine in Chef English's Figs at 29 Fair Street on Nantucket. Chef English furthered Chef Maharjan's education, giving him the confidence to leave for Easthampton, New York, where he was named Executive Chef at Race Lane, catapulting that restaurant to the rarified levels of the best in the area. When Chef Maharjan returned to Nantucket in 2014, he took over the space formerly occupied by Chef English and opened his own restaurant, 29 Fair Street.
In 2016, Chef Maharjan joined Tuscan Kitchen as the Executive Chef of Tuscan Kitchen & Market in Portsmouth, NH. The food that comes from his kitchen has grace and beauty resulting from simplicity, because he has mastered the art of accentuating and highlighting the food's natural goodness without masking it beneath heavy sauces or overpowering flavors. His guiding principle to food preparation is that he seeks to create meals that are natural, simple, and elegant. But don't be fooled into thinking that simple equates to ordinary or pedestrian. By applying classical Carpaccio preparations to Portobello mushrooms or creating a fondue from roasted tomatoes or transforming chilled buttermilk into a magnificent soup, Chef Maharjan defies classification in terms of his cooking style. There is a symbiosis present in his culinary creations; he understands all too well the interdependent nature of the world we all inhabit, and that understanding is reflected in every meal he prepares. That is something that cannot be taught in even the finest culinary institutes in the world. It is something that has to be lived, and it is something that Chef Maharjan internalized as a boy growing up in Nepal.