Madison Originals Magazine Madison Originals Magazine February 2012 - Page 6

6 | madison originals magazine Rajan Pradhan, chef/proprietor of Dobhan Restaurant, immigrated to Madison from Nepal when he was nine years old. Rajanís father had accepted a position as Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and relocated the family, who were only the second Nepalese family in Madison. Rajan brought many happy childhood memories from Nepal, in particular the grand feasts his grandmother and mother would host, which showcased the talents of the cooks his family employed. These fond remembrances played a large part in his decision to pursue cooking professionally.In 1985, Rajanís mother, Bishnu Pradhan, established the successful Himal Chuli restaurant at 318 State Street. At the time, Rajan was enrolled in the Fine Arts Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on a soccer scholarship. Inspired by his motherís culinary talents, Rajan decided to join his mother in her new pursuit. He reects on the transition, ďI found myself studying cookery with a greater intensity than my course work.Ē This turning point resulted in the establishment of a second Pradhan eatery on State Street, Chautara Restaurant.In 2006, Rajan opened Dobhan at 2110 Atwood Avenue. The name, Dobhan, means the conuence of two rivers in Nepali. Located at the convergence of Atwood Avenue, Division Street, and Eastwood Drive, the name is tting of the location.The building was originally built in 1933, and Rajan was determined to create a space that used local materials in the construction. Over a period of ten months, Rajan and others worked diligently to create a space that met his vision for the restaurant. Wood sourced locally from a cherry tree was used to create shelving. A local artist worked with Rajan to create custom designed hand-blown glass lamps. The tables were crafted by a local artisan as well. The ceiling was opened to reveal the original trusses, which have been bolstered with new wood surrounding the original wood for an interesting look, blending By Lisa Lathrop