Certified September 14, 2020.
Hema Alur-Kundargi is a native of Pune, India. She came to the United States in 1986.
Hema loves to cook. She developed a passion for cooking under the firm guidance of her talented mother. In her cooking shows, news & magazine articles and classes, she simplifies Indian cuisine and aims to remove the myths and mysteries associated with it.
Ms. Kundargi currently produces, edits and hosts an award-winning cooking show called “Indian Vegetarian Gourmet,” that simplifies and demystifies Indian cooking. It is aired on the Cupertino Public Access channel.
Hema writes a food column for Cupertino’s citywide newsletter, Cupertino Scene, and West coast Indian magazine India Currents. She has also written for the San Jose Mercury News, Los Angeles Times, Sunset Magazine, India West, and the national Indian magazine Veerashaiva. She volunteers her time to create heart healthy recipes for the South Asian Heart Center at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View.
Hema is also dedicated to building cultural awareness about Indian customs and traditions. She has constantly pursued to enrich her community through the arts, food, dance, music and fashion shows. As a Fine Arts Commissioner of the City of Cupertino for eight years, Ms. Kundargi has promoted children’s art and art in public places. She was also instrumental in launching Cupertino’s annual Indian holiday celebration, “Diwali – Festival of Lights.”
Hema Kundargi has conducted several Sari shows, “Oh what a Wrap”, at the Cupertino Library to educate the public about the history and draping styles of Indian costumes. She has hosted “Dances of India” programs for the Cupertino Senior Center.
Ms. Alur-Kundargi also serves on the Board of Directors for the Cupertino Library Foundation.
Ms. Kundargi’s public access cooking show has been recognized with numerous awards, including the 2001 and 2004 national Hometown Video Festival Award–presented to creative programs that address community needs and develop diverse community involvement. Her cooking show has also won the 1998 and 1999 Western Access Video Excellence (WAVE) awards.
Hema received the 2004 CREST – Cupertino Recognizes Extra Steps Taken, an award given to volunteers who have made outstanding contributions to the city of Cupertino. In 2006, she was awarded the coveted KQED Bay Area Local Hero Award for her leadership and commitment to community service as a 17-year resident of Cupertino. In 2007, Santa Clara County supervisor Liz Kniss selected Hema as one of the the 2007 Asian American Hero Star awards for “her role in educating the public about Indian culture and bridging the cultural differences in the community”.