He tells Delano the decision, while difficult, was a necessary one in light of the covid-19 pandemic. “It affected everybody when restaurants were closed. My wife and I continued with deliveries and pickups, which worked very well, but people were really scared to come into the restaurant, so that has been slow… it is not enough to run the whole show.”
Long hours, cooking in spare time
While Suhash has had a nearly lifelong passion for cooking, his first job in the 1980s had nothing to do with that. His first role was on gas pipelines as a supervisor technician, “looking after the fabrication of pipes before laying them down, welding,” he says. “In Bangladesh, everyone looks for a job and there are less opportunities. I just went for an interview and was selected.”
Later he shifted to working in a shipbuilding yard, supervising particularly the welding.
While the role was based in Comilla, a city in Bangladesh’s Chittagong division, the job took Suhash to several port cities, and travelling between one project to another, across over 130 miles, meant long hours--even more so, since he was newly married. “You don’t know when you can sleep or go to work, you have to work day and night, sometimes almost 20 to 22 hours.”
While the timetable was the hardest part about the job, Suhash still tried to find spare time to follow his passion of cooking. Instead of attending a culinary institute, which didn’t exist in his home country, he absorbed lessons from relatives, who shared their tested recipes with them.
In 1992, Suhash arrived in Luxembourg, working first at a restaurant in Esch-sur-Alzette and later at the Hotel Olivier in Strassen. Suhash continued to learn new recipes and techniques, and this is why he considers his cooking style today more fusion than strictly Bangladeshi. But he’s never forgotten his roots, either. Suhash has been a pillar of the Bangladeshi community, having founded the Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce in 2011 (which he also presided) and sharing this love of cooking at his restaurant, which he opened in 2007.
Continuing to share recipes
Although Orchidée is shutting its doors after 13 years, Suhash isn’t slowing down and remains optimistic about his future.
“When you go for a pension, you cannot just stay idle at home, it makes you more frustrated,” he says. “But we realise at a certain age, nobody is going to hire you above 60 [years old], but I don’t think it will be a problem. Our house is paid, we have three children and a grandson.”
Customers have already reached out to Suhash, inquiring whether he would be available for private cooking lessons, but he says he has not yet decided if this is something he will do. If so, it would be “maybe once or twice a month”.
He’s also slowly writing out recipes which he hopes to put into a book one day and is considering filming some of his recipes. But whatever the future holds, he says, he plans on doing it “very slowly”.