Kusuma Rao (they/them): Bred by traditional Indian cuisine, romanced by the food of their hometown in Tucson, AZ and blurring the lines of all-that and in-between.
Growing up in their mother’s kitchen in Tucson, AZ Kusuma began cooking at age 12, experimenting with spices from all over the world. Feeling estranged from thier Indian roots in Sonoran desert, they began a journey of appreciating Indian spices whilst attempting to recreate their favorite dishes with Indian spices. Through Kusuma's life these creations were honed their techniques to create inspiring dishes for eaters through their Ruchikala popup, established in 2010.
Utterly obsessed with perfection, they strive to create works of art on every plate. Kusuma believes cooking is a deeply personal language, there is an inherent spirituality and sacredness in food that words can't always express.
Based in Portland, Oregon, Kusuma travels around the west coast doing popup dinners that explore these themes. Kusuma is also a yoga teacher in Portland, Oregon and has worked as a restaurant consultant, menu developer, writes/ponders passionately about the intersection of culture, food justice, healing, emotional, and spiritual where ever they go.