Yoga Raja has a talent for “food carving” that is finding appreciative audiences at Sydney weddings and functions.
Yoga, 32, is an artist and food – watermelons, carrots and white radish – is his medium. From a watermelon he can carve a life-like human portrait, and from carrots and radish he sculpts bouquets of flowers that people approach to smell as if real.
“I like very much,” Yoga said, “I practice three or four days a week. I like doing faces, flowers, anything I look at I can do.”
Yoga came to Australia to seek asylum from Sri Lanka, via India. It was while studying for a bachelor degree in hotel management that Yoga first learnt his skill. He also learnt to cook and was a professional chef before coming to Sydney. In Australia, he carves decorative sculptures for weddings and functions he grows in demand as word spreads of his skills.
Yoga, however, lives in the Toongabbie community on a bridging visa and this visa status does not allow him to work for money. So he volunteers his art to those who ask him.
“People very much like (my food sculptures) and offer money sometimes, but I cannot (take),” Yoga said. “I would very much like to do this for my future one day.”
Yoga has also volunteered his kitchen skills to cook for Settlement Services International’s (SSI) Community Kitchen. The fortnightly Community Kitchen events are a gathering of people who are mostly on bridging visas and who are supported by SSI. Skilled cooks, such as Yoga, prepare food for groups of anywhere between 80 to 200 or more people.
Yoga said he enjoyed volunteering at Community Kitchen, because it helped the com
munity and he could practice his English.
SSI Online Communications Coordinator, Callan Lawrence, 0478 156 491, or, 02 8799 6746
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