After nearly 15 years of serving the homeless and hungry of San Francisco, Nepalese chef Shrawan Nepali has a plan to bring his vision of hearty, healing meals to Loveland.
Nepali said he and his nonprofit, Curry Without Worry, have cooked hundreds of thousands of flavorful vegetarian and vegan meals, serving them up for free along with traditional Nepalese music and dancing.
The chef said he has long been friends with the co-owner of Loveland’s Durbar Nepalese and Indian Bistro, Sanjeev Karki. Now, the kitchen of Karki’s restaurant will serve as the launch pad for Nepali’s mission to warm Loveland hearts and stomachs.
“It’s a way for us to reconnect with our brothers and sisters through cultural exchange and hearty, nourishing meals,” Nepali said. “And we don’t ask if anyone is homeless or not. We take donations, but we never charge.”
Curry Without Worry plans to celebrate the opening its new Loveland chapter at 5:30-8:30 p.m. Nov. 16 at Durbar, with a feast of Nepalese food and Lakhey dancing. Nepali and another chef, Dawa Sherpa, will prepare hundreds of meals for the event. While at-will donations will be accepted, the food will be served free of charge.
In 1985, Nepali immigrated to the U.S. from Nepal and soon moved to the Bay Area, where he opened his own restaurant, Taste of the Himalayas.
While he described the restaurant as successful, he said his encounters with the needy and chronically ill of San Francisco led him to pivot toward starting a nonprofit.
“I realized my calling was higher than that,” he said. “As a man from a Third World nation like Nepal, I realized that I had a gift.”
In 2006, he founded Curry Without Worry, which has since welcomed more than 8,000 volunteers and opened another chapter in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, as well as 16 “service” chapters responsible for distributing food in other cities.
The nonprofit’s menu has traditionally consisted of five dishes — nine-bean soup, mixed vegetable curry, brown basmati rice, roti bread, and tomato and timur achar — which were pared down to the soup, curry and rice after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Besides lending the food its warm and powerful flavor, the unique blend of spices used by Nepali has significance in Ayurveda – a system of traditional medicine practiced in India and Nepal. Nepali called himself and Sherpa “healing chefs” because of the healing properties they believe their food has.
“I like to say the main ingredient is love with a generous dose of healing spices,” Nepali said. “We do our best to keep healing our guests through good, Ayurvedic spices.”
He envisioned holding gala dinners and other fundraisers in Loveland once the pandemic allows them to set up larger events.
Nepali encouraged anyone who is interested to stop by on the 16th and reach out to the nonprofit at 415-410-7862 or www.currywithoutworry.org for information about donating time or resources.
While Nepali said he plans to return to San Francisco after Curry Without Worry’s first Loveland event, Sherpa will stick around and work toward securing a permanent space.
“I love the love here,” Nepali said. “It’s a very peaceful town.”