Dwight Speaks on Responsible Tourism in Thailand

Dwight Speaks on Responsible Tourism in Thailand

February is an exciting month for Courageous Kitchen! Not only have our weekend classes for at risk youth began again, but there are lots of other food and travel happenings this time of year. Most notably, one of our founders, Dwight Turner, will be speaking at The Seasons press conference this week. The event is hosted by the Thailand Authority of Tourism (TAT), and has rounded up a panel of people from varying backgrounds whose businesses or personal passion are impacting Thailand for the better.

Here’s a sneak peek into TAT’s interview with Dwight, where he discusses starting Courageous Kitchen, and connecting his personal passion for food with his mission to feed and educate more children in Bangkok.


How did you start CK and what is your objective?

Courageous Kitchen began because I was looking for a way to give back in my free time, but I didn’t know what to do. When a friend invited me to help teach English in a few poorer communities, I fell in love with it. Gradually I wanted to contribute more and more.

Dwight and his courageous pupils!

Later when I moved outside of the city center, we had space for a kitchen and I began to combine these two passions. Quickly we learned that the kitchen is a great classroom. Students who were shy about speaking English suddenly had context, an application, and an urgency to speak in the kitchen. As their language skills improved, so did their confidence.

Why do you use food as a medium to help you achieve your goals?

I love to eat and Bangkok is full of food and food enthusiasts. So it’s a great way to get people’s attention and bring them together for a purpose. This is true even when it may seem like we don’t have anything in common. We may speak a different language, have different skin color, but when sit at the table together, we share and learn about each other.

What do you think of Thai food? What makes Thai cuisine outstanding to you?

I love Thai food because of the diversity of influences on the cuisine. There is such a pronounced Indian influence, the Chinese influence is probably the strongest, and there’s an interesting impact from the hill tribes and neighboring countries in the region as well.

Dwight often hosts one of Bangkok’s most sought after street food tours.

This makes Thai food versatile for different types of people. You may not love chili and chicken feet curry, you may be vegetarian, or have another preference, but there’s likely a Thai dish out there for you.

Why are you interested in helping society, and helping underprivileged kids in Bangkok?

As a Black American I was raised with very strong sense of social justice. That all people are valuable, and that all people should be treated equally. Until this becomes a reality, we have a lot of work to do to create a better future for today’s kids. That’s true all over the world, but trying to solve global problems can seem overwhelming. That’s why it’s best to start by being the change we want to see in our local communities.

As a nonprofit, what do you expect to get in return for you work?

As a nonprofit, my job is challenging and rewarding everyday. There’s a very real challenge to captivate people’s attention long enough to share about people in need, and convince them to take action. However, seeing students, who may have never been in a real restaurant before, imagining themselves as chefs, speaking English more confidently, and becoming leaders in their families is a pretty great reward.

Any upcoming plans for CK?

At the moment we’re looking into ways to grow and strengthen our business. We don’t want to be solely dependent on people’s donations, so we’re looking to offer more to tourists who love food, and are passionate about making a difference with their visit to Thailand.

Food and family combine in our cooking class for kids!

Is there a place in Thailand that you’re especially impressed by and why?

I recently got married in Langsuan, Chumporn. Each time we visit my wife’s family there I usually spend time in the gardens picking fruit off of the nutmeg, taling pling, and other trees in the yard. We have one cousin with a palm orchard, and another growing durian! I know you may expect me to say mountains or beaches, but it’s hard to beat family and food!


Thank you to TAT for hosting Dwight this week! We look forward to continuing this discussion as Thailand’s responsible tourism scene continues to develop. Other guests on the panel include representatives from Pop Art Bann 36, Immanuel Music School, Tlejourn Shoes, and Thai celebrity Top Pipat Apirakthanakorn.

C’est la saison pour un cours de cuisine familial!

C’est la saison pour un cours de cuisine familial!

Trouvez-vous que la liste des choses à faire en tant que famille à Bangkok est limitée? Parents nous sentons ta douleur! La Thaïlande est peut-être une destination de rêve, mais il peut être particulièrement difficile de trouver des activités amusantes avec vos enfants au-delà des visites touristiques. Même parmi les cours de cuisine à Bangkok, très peu autorisent les enfants. Nous savons qu’il peut être décevant de découvrir l’un des meilleurs moyens de voir et d’apprendre sur la culture thaïlandaise, et peut être limité à certains membres de la famille en fonction de restrictions d’âge ou de taille.

Les enfants profitant de notre cours de cuisine à Bangkok, alors que leurs parents participent à proximité.

Si vous ne trouvez pas de cours axés sur la famille à Bangkok, c’est parce que la façon dont les cours de cuisine sont organisés est trop centrée sur les affaires. Les Thaïlandais admettent tous que la cuisine est le centre de la maison asiatique, mais lorsqu’il s’agit de capter l’argent du tourisme, de nombreuses entreprises obligeront autant de personnes à suivre un «cours de cuisine» que possible. Pour les groupes de touristes en particulier, opérer dans les délais et pouvoir accueillir de grands groupes a usurpé l’importance d’être accessible et accueillant pour tous les âges.

Du plaisir pour tous les âges, y compris Miss Teen Puerto Rico et sa famille.

Plus tôt cette année, nous avons pris à cœur les commentaires de nos clients qui souhaitaient y assister avec leurs enfants. Après tout, Courageous Kitchen est une organisation caritative fondée sur la conviction que la cuisine est une excellente salle de classe pour les personnes de tout âge, et en particulier pour les enfants. Ainsi, au lieu de faire de la place pour les parents avec des enfants, nous avons organisé un cours dédié aux familles qui souhaitent cuisiner ensemble.

Joyeux Noël de la part de l’équipe Courageous Kitchen, à vous et à tous nos visiteurs amusants!

Nous avons beaucoup appris en organisant ces nouvelles classes cette année. Avoir des enfants à cuisiner avec leurs parents a été particulièrement amusant à regarder, et le fait d’avoir trois générations d’une famille visitant notre cuisine a laissé des souvenirs qui dureront beaucoup plus longtemps que notre pad thai fait maison. La beauté de toute cette mémoire de vacances, c’est qu’elle nous aidera à maintenir et à compléter autant de familles dans le besoin. Nous remercions tous nos invités et sympathisants d’avoir rendu notre travail possible, et encourageons tout le monde où que vous soyez à entrer dans la cuisine en famille pendant ces vacances!

Tis the Season for a Family Friendly Cooking Class!

Tis the Season for a Family Friendly Cooking Class!

Are you finding the list of things to do as a family in Bangkok limiting? Parents we feel your pain! Thailand may be a dream destination, but finding fun activities to do with your kids beyond sightseeing, can be especially difficult. Even among cooking classes in Bangkok, very few allow children. We know it can be disappointing to find out one of the best ways to see and learn about Thai culture, may be limited to certain family members based on age or height restrictions. 

Kids enjoying our cooking class in Bangkok, as their parents participate nearby.

The reason you don’t find family oriented classes in Bangkok, is because the way cooking classes are organized is too business centric. Thais all admit the kitchen is the center of the asian household, but when it comes to capturing the tourist dollar, many companies will force as many people into a ‘cooking class’ as they can. For tour groups especially, operating on schedule and being able to accommodate large groups has usurped the importance of being accessible and welcoming to all ages. 

Fun for all ages, including Miss Teen Puerto Rico and family.

Earlier this year, we took the feedback from our customers requesting to attend with their children to heart. After all, Courageous Kitchen is a charity founded on the belief that the kitchen is a great classroom for people of all ages, and especially children. So instead of just making room for parents with kids, we carved out a class dedicated to families who want to cook together

Merry Christmas from the Courageous Kitchen team to you and all of our fun visitors!

We’ve learned a lot from hosting these new classes this past year. Having kids cooking with their parents has been especially fun to watch, and having three generations of a family visit our kitchen has made memories that will last a lot longer than our homemade pad thai. The beauty of all this holiday memory making, is it will help us to sustain and supplement so many families who are in need. We appreciate all of our guests and supporters for making our work possible, and encourage everyone wherever you are to get into the kitchen with family this holiday!

Commencez la saison des dons avec un cours spécial de cuisine thaïlandaise!

Commencez la saison des dons avec un cours spécial de cuisine thaïlandaise!

La saison des dons est imminente. La saison a débuté un jour seulement après le jour d’actions de grâce, nous étions heureux d’organiser notre premier cours en partenariat avec Holland America. 

ONotre premier cours de cuisine thaïlandaise avec Holland America a été l’occasion pour les clients de se familiariser avec la cuisine courageuse

Ce vendredi dernier, nous avons accueilli nos premiers invités de “Holland America Cruise Lines”. La société propose des voyages dans le monde entier. Sur leurs itinéraires asiatiques, elle se rend souvent en Thaïlande, amarrée au port voisin de Laem Chabang. Une fois ici, les clients ont le choix de toutes sortes d’options pour des excursions d’une journée à la découverte de Bangkok et des provinces environnantes. Récemment, Holland America s’est associé à “Cuisine Courageuse” pour offrir à ses clients la possibilité de suivre un cours de cuisine thaïlandaise tout en aidant les personnes qui sont dans le besoin.

L’idée de faire venir des voyageurs en classe a commencé après que le personnel de l’entreprise eut lu une interview du fondateur de la Cuisine Courageuse (Courageous Kitchen), en la personne de Monsieur Dwight, sur les recettes et les vins proposes. Dans l’interview, Monsieur Dwight parle à la fois de ses endroits préférés où il fait beau de manger à Bangkok et de son œuvre caritative pour aider les citadins pauvres.

 Le premier groupe qui a effectué la visite était composé d’Américains et de Canadiens, tous ont été sympathiques et désireux d’en savoir plus sur le travail de cette œuvre caritative. Alors que nous avons appris à nous connaître, ils ont appris à préparer quatre plats thaïlandais, dont notre fameuse recette de pad thaï et la délicieuse mais moins connue la salade de haricots.

Le menu du jour comprenait la salade de haricots thaïlandais, moins connue. Le haricot vert frais saupoudré de piment rouge ardent qui ressemblait à un arbre de Noël. 
En plus du coût normal du cours, Holland America a inclus un don à notre organisme de bienfaisance pour chaque invité participant.

Depuis que “la Cuisine Courageuse” propose des cours de cuisine thaïlandaise et des circuits de restauration de rue en 2017, nous avons accueilli plus de 600 invités. Bien que nous ayons encore beaucoup à faire, nous nous arrêtons cette semaine pour exprimer notre gratitude à nos anciens clients de nous avoir aidé à améliorer la vie de ceux qui sont dans le besoin. Bien sûr, un merci tout spécial à Holland America pour avoir cherché à entrer en contact avec des voyagistes plus responsables et pour avoir lancé la saison des dons en nous envoyant un excellent groupe de visiteurs!

3 Ways to Support Courageous Kitchen This Holiday!

3 Ways to Support Courageous Kitchen This Holiday!

special pre-sale

courageous Aprons

Our supporters can finally sport the Courageous Kitchen logo in their own kitchen!

3 ways to give back!

01

Pre-Order Aprons

Be the first to get your hands on a Courageous Kitchen apron!

02

Download Recipes

Download 5 of our most popular recipes and help us fund our first cookbook. 

03

Take A Cooking Class

Book an authentic cooking class for you and your friends!

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Courageous recipes 2019

Download 5 of our most popular recipes, including pad thai and mango and sticky rice! When you make a donation with your download, it will help us fund a larger cookbook of 20+ Thai recipes!

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5 star Reviews

“This was a really fun experience for our whole family. Also wonderful to know our tourism dollars we’re helping local people. Highly recommended."

Elijah

Guest, October 2018

"Amazing cooking class. Lily, Nisha and Dwight were wonderful. I enjoyed the class immensely, and what a great organization!"

Liting

Guest, November 2019

"If you are in Bangkok you MUST visit Courageous Kitchen! Dwight and everyone gave us a top notch cooking experience. The food is SO good and you feel like you’re at home with family and friends while you’re there. I will return every chance that I get."

James

Guest, October 2018

Micro-Giving This Holiday with Amazon Smile

Don’t forget if you’re shopping with Amazon, this holiday you can select Courageous Kitchen as your charity of choice with Amazon Smile.

As your designated charity Amazon donates a small fraction of the proceeds of each sale back to our charity!

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Kicking off Giving Season with a Special Thai Cooking Class!

Kicking off Giving Season with a Special Thai Cooking Class!

Giving season is upon us, and just a day after Thanksgiving we were happy to host our first class in partnership with Holland America. 

Our inaugural Thai cooking class with Holland America saw guests getting hands on in the Courageous Kitchen. 

This past Friday, we hosted our first guests from Holland America Cruise Lines. The company offers trips all over the world, and on their Asian itineraries often visit Thailand, docking at the nearby Laem Chabang port. Once here, guests have all sorts of options for day trips to explore Bangkok and the surrounding provinces. Recently, Holland America has connected with Courageous Kitchen to offer guests a chance to experience a Thai cooking class, while simultaneously giving back to people in need. 

The idea to bring travelers to the class began after staff in the company read an interview of Courageous Kitchen founder, Dwight, on Food & Wine. In the interview Dwight talks both about his favorite places to eat in Bangkok, and his charitable work to help the urban poor. 

The first group to visit was made of Americans and Canadians, all friendly and eager to hear more about the work of the charity. While we got to know each other, they learned to make four Thai dishes, including our famous pad Thai recipe and the delicious, but lesser known wing bean salad. 

The day’s menu included the lesser well known Thai wing bean salad. The fresh green wing bean sprinkled with fiery red chili, resembled a Christmas tree.
On top of the regular cost of the class, Holland America included a donation to our charity for each guest attending.

Since Courageous Kitchen began offering Thai cooking classes and street food tours in 2017, we have hosted more than 600 guests. While we still have more growing to do, we’re pausing this week to express our gratitude to our past guests in helping us improve the lives of those in need. Of course a special thanks goes to Holland America for seeking to connect with more sustainable tour operators, and for kicking off the giving season by sending us a great group of guests! 

Author: Dwight

Dwight is the director of Courageous Kitchen, and loves sharing his passion for food with new people.