At the end of April, the Courageous Kitchen team took a break from our Thai cooking classes in San Diego, to travel to Northern Cali for our first activity in Sacramento. The occasion was to collaborate with Sacramento State University’s Full Circle Project in celebration of the Asian and Pacific Islander Awareness Festival. The APIA Fest is a yearly event coinciding with Asian Pacific Heritage Month, and we were invited to hold a Thai cooking demo and share our story with students on campus.

The Full Circle Project (FCP) works to mentor and support first generation college students, many of them the children of refugees who resettled in the US. This includes people of Hmong ethnicity, a hill tribe group in South East Asia, that Courageous Kitchen assists in Bangkok. Connections to the refugee experience and the culture and cuisine of South East Asia, made hosting the cooking demo a lot of fun and rewarding for everyone involved. Some students even wore their traditional clothing, sporting Hmong patterns and jewelry unique to their families’ tribes.

On the menu was a vegetarian version of our cooking class favorite ‘Tom Kha’, the Thai coconut soup. In addition to the soup, we taught the students to make a healthier version of the ever popular Thai Tea. The students helped themselves to seconds and thirds, while our volunteers, led by Christy Innouvong Thornton, dished out tips for recreating simple and college budget friendly versions of our recipe at home. The activity culminated with sharing from students who had recently joined Courageous Kitchen efforts in Bangkok, giving first hand testimony of both people in need and the hope we endeavor to provide through our food aid and education programs.

In the future we’d love to do more activities in Sacramento and are grateful to everyone who helped make this event a success. You can enjoy more photos from the activity on our Courageous Kitchen facebook page.

PS – If there are northern California supporters or former volunteers who missed this event, but would be interested to help with another in the future, please reach out!


Dwight is director of Courageous Kitchen and a long term expat living in Bangkok, Thailand. A Thai speaker and astute lover of food, he enjoys teaching cooking, and using his passion for food to transform communities.