Central New York

First Graduate of Cooking Program Now Runs Catering Business

Sarah Robin prepares food at the Westcott Community Center

Sarah Robin discusses how she opened her business after immigrating to America.

Bernie Kellman SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) — On Friday nights a line stretches out the door at the Westcott Community Center. Customers eagerly wait to buy takeout from Punjabi Girl Catering.

Sarah Robin is the founder, head chef, and only employee of Punjabi Girl Catering. Every week she spends three days cooking then three days cleaning her kitchen in preparation for her Friday night takeout service. Most Fridays, Robin serves more than 200 portions of food.

“The biggest challenge I’m facing right now is I cook all the food by myself,” Sarah said, “It’s a lot of food.”

Robin prepared to open her business by attending the With Love restaurant cooking program. With Love is a restaurant that focuses on training immigrants and the unemployed to become chefs.

“It’s a teaching restaurant,” With Love Manager Adam Sudmen said,” Hopefully it shines a bit of a light on so many interesting and vital people who otherwise would be unnoticed, untapped talent that we have here in Syracuse.”

Robin said that through her training at the With Love restaurant she gained the confidence she needed to open up her own catering business. So far Robin has been thrilled to see how accepting the local community has been.

“I never saw like any people from my country came here to support me,” Sarah said, “It’s always like Americans, Indians so I feel so good that I was not part of that country, I was not born here, but people really want to help me.”

In addition to opening her catering business, Robin also recently became an American citizen. According to Robin becoming a citizen is one of her greatest achievements.