Below is the essay I wrote about myself for an article to be published in the Akron Beacon Journal. One of their editors will extract my words and write an article about me as the weekly feature chef at @nohipopup. I don’t know what it will looks like then. But since I poured my heart into answering questions for my own biography, I thought I would share it here with friends and followers first, before it gets shorten or altered for the city of Akron to read.
Also, if you are reading this, THANK YOU for being here for me. I appreciate you more than you ever know.
Growing up in three different ethnic restaurants in Bangkok, Thailand, food has always been a big part of my life. My parents were a big foodie and trying new tasty menu at new places when we go on trips around Southeast Asia was one of the best childhood memories.
When my family moved to Akron, Ohio in 1995, the only place I could find authentic Thai food was at home. As a typical teenager, my brother and I enjoyed pizza, burgers and fries, but at the end of every day, we hurried home for mom’s food that we know will always be on the table waiting for us when we get home from school.
Thinking back, my mom was and has been the only one cooking in the kitchen. She didn’t really let us help but she loves to watch us eat! So, I have always just watched her cook and see how she does things in her kitchen.
As a result of that, I have always been cooking with my eyes. I don’t really have a recipe written down anywhere, it’s all in my head and sometimes a phone call to mom in the middle of cooking a certain dish. Also, safe to say, while my mother is the most important inspiration of my culinary dream, if you ask her, she would tell you she had never really taught me how to cook. But if you ask me, I’d say I have inherited my love of food and cooking, and have learned all of my kitchen skills from her, one hundred percent.
Thankfully, those observed skills become handy when I moved out on my own in my mid 20’s. That was when I started cooking for myself. It was also when I realized I can cook and love being in the kitchen.
It’s all started from cooking my own lunch, to inviting friends over to my place for dinner, then that one time I volunteered to cook for a work party. It was when I felt that food was my love language. I was so happy to see people so happy eating my food and enjoying it. To me, compliment isn’t everything. But the look on their faces and when they want more of it, is what makes my heart happy.
After that party, I started cooking more and more for friends and co-workers for free. Not once had I thought about opening a restaurant.
Then life changed when I started a family.
I still didn’t want to be a restaurant owner knowing how much love and dedication it takes to have a successful business. But I went and talked to some people and have learned that I can cook from home with limitation. And so, I have turned my love of cooking into a side hustle shortly after my son was born.
While food is just food for many people, food have always been something personal for me and my family. Food is love and I believe well prepared food say a lot about the person cooking it.
With that said, I take pride in every dish I made, regardless of if it’s a gift or a paid order. I will not send out something I would not eat myself. I cook with high standard and I always shop the day of to make sure my dishes are fresh. And to be completely honest, I am not a fan of leftover. I think this one linked back to my mom who’s always been the last to sit down at any family meals because she always wanted to make sure the food is served hot and that we eat it right away.
Now in 2021, Akron has come a long way from almost two decades ago. There are so many great Thai and Asian restaurants around us. But if you know me personally and have asked me for the best Thai food around, then you know my answer has always been “my mom’s kitchen and my house.”
For all who have told me you want to taste my authentic Thai food one day, I have good news for you. I am following my culinary dream of having a pop-up restaurant and I am answering to all of your requests.
Akron has been home since 1995 and there’s no better way for me to thanks this city I love and to all of you who have supported me all these years than to cook for you! Come out to NoHi Pop-Up the weekend of April 9-11, 2021 and get a taste of my authentic homecooked Thai meals. I hope to see your orders come through and to make my momma proud!