The Culinary Journey of Binod Baral

Blending Heritage and Innovation – How Binod Redefines Global Cuisine

Binod Baral’s culinary journey spans 79 countries, blending heritage with global trends. He champions Nepali cuisine, empowers youth, and promotes sustainability through his visionary leadership and philanthropic efforts.


In the world of culinary arts, few names resonate as profoundly as Binod Baral. A chef whose journey spans 79 countries, Baral’s story is one of resilience, cultural fusion, and an unwavering commitment to excellence. Born into a family with a rich tapestry of traditions and entrepreneurial spirit, Baral’s early experiences in Malekhu, Nepal, laid the foundation for his unique cooking style. His father’s spiritual roots and his mother’s diverse heritage, coupled with the bustling environment of a family-run eatery and the renowned Malekkhu Fish Market, ignited his passion for food.

At just 17 and a half, Baral embarked on a challenging journey to London with little more than a suitcase and $1,800. His determination and hard work saw him through the toughest of times, from balancing studies and bills to walking miles when he couldn’t afford bus fare. These experiences shaped his character and fueled his drive to succeed, eventually leading him to cater prestigious events like the FIFA World Cup and Formula 1.

Baral’s approach to creating menus for high-profile events is a testament to his innovative spirit. He seamlessly blends current food trends with cultural diversity and sustainability, ensuring that every dish not only meets but exceeds expectations. His time catering at the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar highlighted his ability to adapt and excel under pressure, sourcing local ingredients and training staff to deliver impeccable service.

Beyond his culinary achievements, Baral is a Global Goodwill Ambassador and a dedicated philanthropist. He balances his professional responsibilities with his passion for making a positive impact, supporting gastronomy tourism, and empowering youth and women entrepreneurs. His efforts to promote Nepali cuisine on the global stage are driven by a deep respect for his heritage and a strategic vision for international recognition.

As the co-founder of Zumbara and Momo & Roti, Baral’s vision extends beyond restaurant management. Through the Binod Baral School of Hospitality, he aims to train the next generation of leaders in food, hospitality, and tourism, while championing sustainability and social responsibility. His commitment to addressing climate change and fostering a network of empowered entrepreneurs underscores his role as a visionary leader in the culinary world.

In this exclusive interview with Entrepreneur Prime Magazine, Binod Baral shares his inspiring journey, the challenges he has overcome, and his vision for the future of culinary arts and entrepreneurship.

What inspired you to pursue a career in the culinary arts, and how did your early experiences in Malekhu influence your cooking style?

I come from a family with a rich blend of traditions and cultural backgrounds. My father’s side is rooted in priesthood and spiritual practices, while my mother’s side, with diverse heritage ties to Myanmar and a mix of Nepalese and Burmese influences, embodies entrepreneurial spirit. They opened a successful eatery along a busy highway, and my maternal uncle established the renowned Malekkhu Fish Market in Nepal. Although I grew up in the city and studied to become a doctor, these familial influences inspired me to pursue my passion for cooking. This led me to become a chef, embarking on a culinary journey across 79 countries, blending my heritage with global food cultures.

Can you share some of the challenges you faced when you first moved to London and how you overcame them to become a successful chef?

 When I arrived in London at 17 and a half years old, I had just one suitcase with essential daily items and $1,800. Balancing my studies and paying bills was challenging, but I was determined to build the career I envisioned. I always went the extra mile, doing more than what my boss or manager required. Maintaining my studies was difficult, but my hard work, focus, and unwavering determination helped me overcome every challenge. There were times when I couldn’t afford bus fare 70 pence  and had to walk, and once, I had to wait a week to buy medicine because I didn’t have £6.50. Despite these hardships, I persevered and achieved my goals.

You’ve worked with many prestigious events like the FIFA World Cup and Formula 1. How do you approach creating menus for such high-profile events?

 Developing a menu for high-profile events involves incorporating current food trends such as vegan, gluten-free, protein-rich diets, and vegetarian options. These dietary preferences are essential considerations alongside sustainability and cultural aspects. With my background in research and development, I aim to create a menu that not only reflects these trends but also respects cultural diversity and promotes sustainability.

Can you share a memorable moment or challenge from your time catering at the FIFA World Cup 2022, and how your team managed to handle it?

 Catering for FIFA 2022 Qatar presented unique challenges: sourcing local, sustainable ingredients on a small island with high temperatures and heavy reliance on imports. Meeting our high standards meant training local staff extensively to execute dishes flawlessly. I immersed myself in Qatari food culture, learning from culinary school and training with Royal Chef Aysha Al Tamimi and local Qatari mothers. Another challenge was preparing meals for eliminated teams within 3 hours, accommodating their preferences before sending them off.

As a Global Goodwill Ambassador and a culinary director, how do you balance your professional responsibilities with your philanthropic efforts?

As a Global Goodwill Ambassador and Global Culinary Leader, I harmonize my professional duties with philanthropic endeavors, ensuring they align for maximum impact. I leverage food and other avenues to make a positive difference. With an entrepreneurial background, I’ve expanded into five key fields to support gastronomy tourism and food business: cuisine, culture, community, art, and nature, all contributing to their bottom-line value. I always allocate space for social, economic, and charitable initiatives, supporting the community, youth, and women entrepreneurs to advance my philanthropic cause.

What are your thoughts on the global perception of Nepali cuisine, and what steps do you believe are necessary to further promote it internationally?

 Nepal’s unique position between two culinary giants, India and China, gives it a distinct identity. Unlike many countries, Nepal has never been invaded, preserving our cuisine’s authenticity. Despite our small size, we boast nine of the world’s tallest Himalayas, enriching our culinary diversity from the middle mountains to the Terai region. Our culture, deeply intertwined with nature, is reflected in our food, with 128 communities celebrating festivals year-round, showcasing a variety of delicacies. We have unparalleled green spinach varieties, unseen elsewhere in the world.

To promote Nepali cuisine internationally, we need strategic marketing. I focus on organizing food festivals, cook-offs, charity dinners, and writing articles in English media. Additionally, I’ve launched the “Binod Baral School of Hospitality,” featuring Nepalese chef tables, guest chefs, and cooking classes to introduce our rich culinary heritage to the world. Sharing the birthplace of Lord Buddha and hosting events atop the world’s highest peaks Mt. Everest adds to our unique appeal, marketing Nepali cuisine as coming from the “top of the world” and the “kitchen of Lord Buddha’s birthplace.”

Can you tell us more about your role and vision for the future of Zumbara and Momo & Roti, the restaurants you co-founded?

My future vision is not centred on running or expanding restaurants, but on empowering youth and women to become entrepreneurs. Through the Binod Baral School of Hospitality, I aim to train individuals to become leaders in food, hospitality, culinary arts, and tourism. As a son of the earth and a nature lover, I am committed to addressing climate change, sustainability, waste reduction, and minimizing carbon footprints.

I envision creating a sustainable bridge between entrepreneurs and businesses, fostering a network that supports the needy. This involves promoting environmental stewardship and social responsibility, ensuring that our entrepreneurial efforts contribute positively to society and the planet. By doing so, we can build a community of empowered individuals who are equipped to drive change and support sustainable development.