Born to a nomad family in eastern Tibet, chef Dorjee and his family would pack up their belongings and black wool tents every season to move to new pastures for their sheep and yaks.
Dorjee grew up watching his mother and sisters cook over a cob stove. He became a Buddhist monk at age 6 and worked in monasteries for 16 years, where he learned how to prepare large amounts of food very quickly.
Dorjee immigrated to the US in 2014, and in 2015 he and Amberjade welcomed a baby boy to their family. In Washington DC, Dorjee worked as the lead morning baker for award-winning Bullfrog Bagels, managing full production of thousands of hand-rolled bagels, from flour to final product. Dorjee next became a prep cook for Chef Erik Bruner-Yang's Cambodian/Taiwanese influenced restaurant concept Maketto. He moved to Honeycomb Grocer in Union Market, serving Japanese ramen and pork bao, and also worked at Sospeso on H Street. After building his networks and testing out recipes on groups of friends at home, Dorjee solidified his concept and goals for the future: an intimate and immersive Himalayan restaurant, with manufacturing space to develop a brand of packaged Tibetan goods and a refugee job training program.
Now his dream is becoming a reality! Dorjee brings his loving attention and finely honed skills to every dish he makes at Dorjee Momo, DC's refugee-owned, family-run Tibetan nomad food startup based at Union Kitchen. Our mission is to introduce more people to the heartfelt preparation and unique flavors of Himalayan cuisine, and our approach centers delicious dishes from the Tibetan diaspora that are simultaneously authentic and creative. We're working on building our goal by serving guests and making new friends at events, festivals, private home dinners, restaurant pop ups, and collaborations with other local businesses.