Courageous Kitchen is now a CFC Approved Charity!

Courageous Kitchen is now a CFC Approved Charity!

As our organization grows we’re always looking for opportunities to share our mission to inspire marginalized youth in Bangkok through the power of food and education. For this reason, we’re excited to announce Courageous Kitchen has just been designated as an approved charity for the Combined Federal Campaign or CFC. Never heard of it? Read below and we’ll explain:

CFC Approved Charity Thailand

Charity: Courageous Kitchen Inc.
CFC#: 97490

What is the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC)?

CFC is a workplace giving program for federal employees in the United States. The program allows employees to designate a portion of their salary to be donated to approved charities. The program is the world’s largest of it’s kind, and helps a diverse variety of organizations fund their programs and activities. Only charities who demonstrate financial transparency in the previous fiscal year are accepted to participate.

Those interested to give to Courageous Kitchen can make a pledge to donate this year for the 2019 pay period. You can also use the campaign to make one time donations.

I don’t work for the US government, can I still help?

As a small organization Courageous Kitchen depends on the word of mouth of our supporters. So even if you aren’t working for the federal government, military, or a postal worker— you may know someone who is! We need everyone’s help to spread the word, especially during the pledge period in the fall of 2018.

Even if you or your friends don’t fall into any of those categories, don’t forget you can make an impact by going to our donation page. There you can setup a regular donation with your credit card or paypal account to help us continue our work.

Are the donations tax deductible?

As a registered 501c3 public charity in the US, all donations through the CFC campaign, and directly on our website are eligible for tax deduction.

Does my donation go directly to help people in need? What’s your AFR?

Courageous Kitchen does it’s best to make sure your donations on our website or through the CFC campaign go as directly as possible to help people in need. We can only do this by operating a social enterprise where tourists visiting Thailand can book a cooking class. The class helps offset our operating costs, including employing some of the youth whose community we serve.

The AFR stands for the Administrative and Fundraising Rate, which is a percentage automatically calculated by the CFC program to give quick insight on how a charity distributes aid versus overhead. The official percentage for Courageous Kitchen is 45.2%. This means that if you book a cooking class, about half of the cost goes back to support our admin needs. For donations made directly, however, 80-90% of those funds go directly towards feeding and educating people in need.

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Please note, the CFC campaign itself also uses a small percentage of donations to cover expenses for the program. Also, it does cost money for our organization to participate. The total fees to apply and be listed each are over $1000. That’s a big fee for a small organization, but if we can convince a few friends working for the US government to show their support, the efforts could mean more funding for the important work we’re doing in Bangkok.

Still don’t get it? Here’s the short version:

The CFC program is a great opportunity for Courageous Kitchen to raise more funds. We’ll need your help spreading the word to anyone working for the federal government in the United States. Those employees can donate in the coming year directly through their job, and anyone else wanting to help can setup a direct donation on our website. These monthly donations give stability to our mission to feed and educate, while the business arm of our charity covers the costs running the charity. Thank you for empowering us to uplift communities in need in Bangkok!

Summer Begins by Taking Action for World Refugee Day!

Summer Begins by Taking Action for World Refugee Day!

June marks the beginning of summer for many of us, but it also marks the start of another significant event for the Courageous Kitchen and many refugee communities across the globe. Every year in mid-June, several organizations host what has been declared as ‘Refugee Week’, with June 20th serving as the week’s capstone — this year will commemorate the 20th Annual World Refugee Day! As we join in the double-decade long celebration, we urge you to also join us by honoring the resilience and contributions of refugees and asylum seekers worldwide by taking action in the following ways:

    • 3) Cook/Eat – This may come as no surprise, but we believe the kitchen is one of the best places to learn about someone new, and connect with their culture. In diverse places in the west, we may take for granted how someone, or their ancestors, made harrowing journeys and sacrifices. World Refugee Day gives us an excuse to ask people about their heritage, culture, and an opportunity to celebrate these differences over something that binds us all, food!

  • 4) Share – In today’s political climate it can be unpopular to show your support publicly for refugees. Refugees are used as a political tool in some countries to propel xenophobic campaigns and policies. Wherever we are in the world, we can show our support for refugees and insist people recognize their human rights. If you join in the celebrations, document them by using the hashtags #RefugeeWeek2018 and #WithRefugees.
  • 5) Give Back – When you connect with your local refugee organizations find a way to donate, volunteer, or give back another way. These organizations are often underfunded and understaffed (speaking from experience), so if you can find a way to donate funds or time consistently for a few months, you can really make a difference for people in need and small organizations serving them. We’re asking people interested in supporting our mission to help by sponsoring a family.

Photo: Courageous Kitchen’s pre-teen students pose with Canadian chef Cameron Stauch.

Doing anything special this World Refugee Day? Please reach out and let us know!

An Eye Opening Kitchen Exchange with the Marriott’s Executive Chefs

An Eye Opening Kitchen Exchange with the Marriott’s Executive Chefs

We’re excited to share the latest fun activity between our junior chefs and the super chefs over at Bangkok’s Marriott Marquis Hotel. If you’re unfamiliar, the hotel is one the largest in the region and they often play host to the internal conferences and other activities for the brand. The hotel chefs recently invited our Courageous Kitchen students to participate in a family lunch event they were organizing for the upper management from hotels in the region. The activity brought the families of local Thai staff to create their favorite home recipes in the hotel, with our Courageous Kitchen students helping out.

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The recipes the families chose exhibited the diversity of Thai cuisine. A few of the dishes were popular Thai foods, like one granny’s recipe for pad thai, but not all of them. In fact, many of the recipes brought regional foods and little known homestyle recipes to be showcased. However, before we were welcomed into the hotel, the head chefs came to find out more about our charity and how we teach Courageous Kitchen students. To do this, they visited our outreach center in the outskirts of Bangkok to demonstrate two recipes for the students. One of the dishes was a crab curry and ended up looking and tasting amazing!

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Not long after the chefs visited the community, we joined the chefs in their kitchens to help during their event. Our students began the day with a buffet lunch, and a behind the scenes tour of the hotel’s back kitchens. The students, most of whom have never visited a hotel, were introduced as “guests of the head chef” and treated to tastings, and conversations with the chefs about what they were working on. In the bread making kitchen, our students made all sorts of miserable faces as they tried sourdough bread for the first time! This was a big contrast with their elated reactions to all of the sweets on display in the pastry kitchen. Afterwards, the students came back to the banquet room where they helped prepare and serve the special Thai recipes, fruit, and desserts to the guests.

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This kitchen exchange was the highlight of our activities over the past few months. Memories we made with the students and chefs will long be treasured by all involved. Most importantly, our students, who may likely think of street food when imagining a career in food and beverage, had the chance to visualize what’s possible if they continue to excel in the kitchen. Finally, to show their commitment to the development of the youth we serve, the hotel has also designated a special donation for improving our educational efforts. Bravo to all our students for doing so well in a new environment, and thank you to everyone for so warmly welcoming us!

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Big special thanks to everyone at the Marriott Marquis for welcoming our students so warmly, especially the head chefs and their teams! 

Photos by Alisa Suwanrumpha.

Meet the Talented Stars Behind Our Soul Sunday Fundraiser!

Meet the Talented Stars Behind Our Soul Sunday Fundraiser!

This Sunday in Bangkok we’re helping to host a funky get together of some of Bangkok’s most soulful musicians!

The fun evening includes performances by international and local artists, a special guest mixologist, and delicious food at local bar and creative space, Whiteline.  Proceeds from ticket sales, and a portion of bar sales, will be donated toward providing food, hygiene products, and financial assistance to the children and families languishing in detention.

Tickets can be purchased for Soul Sunday on eventbrite, and the event starts at 5pm. Ready to hear more about the musicians and cast of friends helping put together this great charity benefit? Read below!

Meet the Performers:

Tere’ Howard aka Soul Mama

Tere Howard, a.k.a. Soul Mama, is a phenomenal singer and the creator of Soul Sunday. By the time her travels brought her to Bangkok, she was already no stranger to community organizing and charity work. In her hometown of Philadelphia, she started an organization bringing independent artists together to uplift communities, and create positive social change through the arts. Soul Sunday was born when Soul Mama personally saw the need to provide resources like food, toiletries and other resources to families in immigration jail, saying, “I realize it takes all of us working together to help those with the greatest needs in our community. No one person can do it alone.”

Singer Natalie Van Der Walt

“I have a song within me that continues to pour out.” Natalie’s songs are described as personal, raw, but bold enough to be shared with anyone.

Jazz Vocalist Nicki Kidd

International Jazz Vocalist Nikki Kidd has a palatable passion for music. Her musical style is the embodiment of classic and current jazz and her voice has the ability to transport you to the days of speakeasies. Nikki has worked with acclaimed artists such as Gloria Estefan, Michael Bublé, and KC and the Sunshine Band.

She has also performed with the Florida Grand Opera in their production of the Opera “Aida” at the Arscht Center and records for Emilio Estefan at Crescent Moon Studio. Nikki continues to make a name for herself not only in her hometown, but also abroad where she has a residency at the Mandarin Oriental’s Bamboo Bar in Bangkok, Thailand.

Willard Dyson

Willard Dyson grew up in Oakland California and is at home in a myriad of musical genres including Jazz, R&B, African, Latin and Brazilian music. He received a degree in Percussion Performance from CSU Hayward and a Master of Music degree in Jazz and Commercial Music from the Manhattan School of Music. Willard has toured and recorded with many artists, as well as being a featured percussion soloist with the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra.

Demi Nova

Demi Nova hails from Atlanta, GA where she’s danced with Tina Turner, and danced for Coretta Scott King. In addition to performing all over the US and internationally, Demi is a playwright, author, doctor of pharmacy. Her captivating energy will blow you away!

Paddy Benzy

Paddy Benzy is a Pan-African rap artist originating from Ghana. Paddy is the founder of SKG Records  and a multi talented artist who creates his own beats, writes and raps in his eclectic Afropop style. He has just released his first single called Erimma.

Joy Howard

Joy Howard is a singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur who seeks to unify people in music and fashion. She has been singing and performing all over Thailand since 2012. She started her “I Am Beautique” apparel company in 2017. The brand was designed to bring urban and traditional styles together, seeking to give identity and recognization to voices unheard.

DJ Kinky D

Establishing herself as a DJ back in 1994, Kinky D’s ever-growing reputation and continuing success has seen her become a solid contender upon the global music scene.  Kinky D has worked alongside some of the top names within the industry, including 50 Cent, Todd Terry, The Supremes, The Temptations, Kelis, Mark Ronson and Black Coffee.

Coco Rouzier

Coco Rouzier is an American vocalist, recording artist, songwriter and performance coach. You may have seen her performing the past year at the Sukhothai Bangkok Hotel, and is now preparing for her 6th tour of Southeast Asia.

Wombat Band

This music duo joins with a strong love of groove and melody. When they take the stage, they bring a mix of soul, funk, and reggae that they call Wombat sound.

Rapper MavenP

MavenP Aka MC Verssace is a true Veteran in the nightlife scene around Asia, cofounding Party Republik. He is known for his versatility with the ability to excel at songwriting, singing, rapping and at event hosting.

DJ Master D

One of the hottest DJs in Thailand, playing at clubs from Phuket to Bangkok. His mixture of afro beats, hip hop and more will keep any party lit!

There are so many others we have to thank for helping to make this event a success, including venue sponsor Oliver Wolfson of Whiteline, guest mixologist Sarah Madritsch, and photographer Sabrina Boyett. Thank you all!

Tickets are 300 baht on Eventbrite, or 400 baht at the door. Appetizers will be provided freely to guests (while they last) by our Courageous Kitchen team.

Celebrating the APIA Festival in Sacramento with Healthy Thai Recipes

Celebrating the APIA Festival in Sacramento with Healthy Thai Recipes

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!