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Passion for Culture, Arts and Food Earn High Marks for Cupertino Woman

Through cooking, volunteer work and plain ol' good people vibes Hema Kundargi makes Cupertino a happier place.

A source of positive energy and encouragement, has enriched the lives of many through her leadership and commitment to community service as a longtime resident of Cupertino, friends and neighbors said.

Kundargi was as an active member of various citywide committees including the Cupertino Fine Arts Commission as well as the Board of the Cupertino Library Foundation, before pursuing an advanced degree from San Jose State University. Described as having a radiant and compassionate personality countless friends and acquaintances compliment her generosity and optimistic attitude.

The large Indian population in Cupertino gets a little piece of home every fall, thanks in part to Kundargi’s key role as a member of the Cupertino Fine Arts Commission in launching the city’s annual  celebration, now in its 10th year on Oct. 13 at Memorial Park.

The yearly splash of color though wasn’t enough for Kundargi; she worked to find ways to display artwork around the community all year long. In 2009, while serving on the Board of the Cupertino Library Foundation, Kundargi helped establish the first Art Wall Display, entitled Spring Fever, in the through a partnership with the Fine Arts League of Cupertino.

“In large measure the result of (the display walls are) Hema Kundargi's original vision and tireless efforts,” says Eno Schmidt, president of the Cupertino Library Foundation.

And no discussion of Kundargi could end without the mention of her passion for food. She noticed a lack of Indian cooking shows airing on television, so took it upon herself to spread gourmet Indian cuisine to the residents of Cupertino

“She has developed her ‘love of cooking’...and ‘feeding’...through her diligent efforts of a cooking show,” says longtime friend Karen Kim.

Kundargi’s award-winning show, “Indian Vegetarian Gourmet,” focuses on creating simple Indian dishes while demystifying common myths associated with Indian cuisine. Kundargi’s passion for cooking is evident beyond the community, as she’s written food-related pieces for Cupertino’s citywide newsletter, Cupertino Scene, San Jose Mercury News, Los Angeles Times, and is a Local Voices blogger on Cupertino Patch. (Read her posts that include recipes here.)

She’s a 2004 recipient of the city’s CREST (Cupertino Recognizes Extra Steps Taken) award, which is given to volunteers who make tremendous contributions to Cupertino, and she earned the 2007 Asian American Hero Star award. Recognitions that to those who know her was no surprise.

“She is always willing to try new things, and embraces them with grace and curiosity,” Kim adds, “My friend Hema is a gem."

Mayank Sanganeria August 20, 2012 at 04:34 AM
Awesome! Kudos - great to read and find out about all the other things I didn't know about :) Also noticed that this site misses out some other stuff you do! Guess its not possible to capture all that in one page! -- Mayank
Soumi Koshy August 20, 2012 at 05:48 AM
Hemlata has done her school,St Joseoh's Pashan ,Pune proud and the family of St Joseph's hereby send Heartiest Congratulations for all the contributions she makes to Cupertino, the U.S & the world at large. Wow! way to go Hema!!!!!!!! Soumi Koshy
Suresh Kundargi August 20, 2012 at 06:12 AM
Hema, we are proud of you. We have seen your enthusiasm for such activities in Cupertino. Suresh
Vighnesh Rege August 20, 2012 at 07:47 PM
They should've also mentioned the joy you've brought to the lives of certain Stanford grad students, who'd have been pretty homesick otherwise :)
sonal nitin August 21, 2012 at 06:17 AM
Just Awesome !!! I'm sure its hard to cover everything what Hema has done for the community...my personal favorite is Diwali Festival in Cupertino !!! cannot thank you enough Hemakaku :)
Sujata Khanna August 21, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Cool! Congratulations! You make us proud!
Minal September 04, 2012 at 04:45 AM
Minal Upadhyay I have only few words to describe her a person with full of positive energy and true positive attitude.
Martha Dixon September 04, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Marty ( Classmate from Foothill College) Hema is a beautiful and wonderful individual! She is always so positive about everything and a true blessing. I had class with Hema and she continues to amaze me. I am so honored to have her as a friend. Love, Marty
sheila September 05, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Great write-up! There are lots of other qualities that Hema exemplifies, including care and concern for our neighborhood. The annual block party she organizes is a great way for neighbors to get acquainted. She is truly an asset to the city and the community.
Vijay H September 14, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Great Article and Very Very Well Deserved - Congratulations Hema - I can see how words are not enough to describe a genuine personality. Hema is always sharing ( time, thoughts, ideas and food ;) ) and is taking the extra efforts to 'pay it forward' in the community. She is open to listening, never judgmental and will give you some unbiased opinions. She is always the one who will reach and you will always be in her company with a smile- Thanks Hema - Keep it going !!

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