Charitable Smoothie Bar and Five Kitchen Tour in Downtown Bangkok

We’re happy to share some photos with you from a recent Courageous Kitchen activity. A few of our students were invited to setup a fruit smoothie bar in the Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) headquarters in downtown Bangkok. The students woke up early and traveled more than an hour to get to the hotel. There the staff welcomed us into their office, where they planned to have a special lunch to kickoff the IHG Foundation Week, which aims to promote charities in the region and get their staff around the world thinking about giving back.intercontinental bangkok kitchen tour-3

For our students, many of whom have never eaten in a restaurant or stayed in a hotel, this was a special experience. The staff welcomed them with new t-shirts, notebooks, and a quick briefing on the day’s plans. They were tasked with setting up a smoothie bar in the office’s break room area overlooking Bangkok. They quickly organized themselves into two stations, with specific tasks like collecting money, running the blenders, or asking their “customers” which fruit they preferred to have in their drinks.

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The smoothie bar was a fun challenge for the students and since everyone who had a smoothie gave a small donation, they also raised some funds too. However, that wasn’t all IHG had planned for them. Led by two of the staff, Ben and Elena, the students then filed in to travel back to the hotel lobby where someone special was waiting. When the group exited the elevators into the grand lobby, they were met by Executive Chef Rolando. Chef Rolando is in charge of all of the kitchen for both the Intercontinental Hotel and next door sister hotel, Holiday Inn.

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After a quick introduction, we followed the chef first into the room service area of the kitchen. The look behind the scenes wowed the students and the size of the production was massive. From room service we entered another area responsible for catering for up to 1000 or more guests at one time. To put this in context, Chef Rolando walked the students into one of the behemoth banquet rooms and talked about the giant numbers of staff and things we take for granted like eggs that the hotel uses in one day.

From the chocolate statues in the buffet line, to breathtaking views on the 37th floor, and the exclusive areas of their fine dining restaurants, the students loved their kitchen tour. In the end we visited about 5 kitchens, looking both in the dining area and behind the scenes. The experience was enthralling for our students and we believed will help them to imagine a grand future for themselves in the kitchen or doing food related services.

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Thank you to everyone who supports us, allowing us to do inspirational activities like this one. A special thank you to Ben, Elena, and Bangkok’s IHG office.

If you’re new to Courageous Kitchen, you can help by giving a small monthly donation so we can continue to serve youth in Bangkok and give them them skills and inspiration to last a lifetime!

All photos courtesy of volunteer photographer Kelly Miller.

Southeats Yields to Hurricane Recovery, But We’re Still Coming to Austin!

In light of Hurricane Harvey, there’s been some changes with SouthEATS. Many of us were personally affected by the disaster, so after a long week of deliberating, our team has decided it’s best to postpone the event. However, for those of us that will still be in Austin we would like to invite you to join us for two casual events:

Saturday, September 23rd, 5-7pm (Open to the public)
Happy Hour on the Observation Deck at Boiler Nine
We will be providing some light appetizers, cash bar available.
Boiler Nine is family-friendly.

Sunday, September 24th, 5-9pm (RSVP only)
Private Family Dinner catered by Chefs Yia Vang, Jen Phanomrat, and Seng Luangrath
Tickets available here: southeatsfamilydinner.eventbrite.com
Venue: Wanderin’ Star Farms (12665 Silver Springs Road)

On behalf of the CK team, we do hope that you can understand our decision. We are disappointed but know that the urgent need to help restore Texas is much more pressing at this time. If you’d like to donate to the victims of Harvey, we’re asking that you help us send non-perishable items to Central Texas Food Bank as they are providing relief to thousands across the state.

Our sincerest apologies for any inconvenience this has caused. Please notify your networks or any personal contacts you’ve invited of the cancellation. If you have already purchased your ticket, you will be receiving a private email by the end of the week.

We’re Bringing South East Asian Street Food to Austin!

We’re Bringing South East Asian Street Food to Austin!

Get those tastebuds ready and put a glass of water on standby, the first Southeats Austin is coming!

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Southeats Austin will be a mini food festival on September 24th, 2017 summoning handpicked purveyors of South East Asian food from near and far. The event, which is a Courageous Kitchen fundraiser, will bring together food bloggers, restauranteurs, and beverage vendors to serve up spice laced plates in Austin’s Barr Mansion. Come hungry, come all!

“Keep Austin Spicy!”

  • SouthEATS Austin food fest + fundraiser on September 24th from 4-8pm at Barr Mansion
  • Early bird tickets are $20 which includes two drink tickets + food tastings

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  • Live food demos from Jen Phanomrat of Just Eat Life, and Chef Yia Vang of Union Kitchen in Minnesota
  • Hear about the amazing journey of one refugee turned activist and public speaker, Sedrick Ntwali
  • Kids 10 and under are free
  • Ma Der Food Co., Saap Lao Kitchen, and Khao Noodle shop will be serving up authentic Lao food, including beef jerky, sai oua, and handmade noodles
  • Live music and traditional Thai dancing

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Be sure to book your tickets on Eventbrite in advance. Early bird tickets are available on Eventbrite, but not for long!

Sponsors include: Barr Mansion, Austin Asian Amer. Film Fest, Deep Eddy Vodka, Big Bad Brewing Co. Austin Eastciders

We’re Bangkok’s First Social Impact Experience on Airbnb!

We’re Bangkok’s First Social Impact Experience on Airbnb!

The travel company Airbnb recently launched a new program called ‘Airbnb Experiences‘ which allows guests in cities around the world to find unique activities. We’re proud to announce that not only is Bangkok one of the initial launch cities, but Courageous Kitchen is now a featured experience on their website and travel app!

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We initially launched our cooking class about 8 months ago and since then we’ve hosted nearly 100 curious guests for market walks and Thai cooking tips. The feedback each of you has given has helped us develop the experience, and we hope the Airbnb platform will offer us a chance to give our classes more regularly.

All Smiles for Fried Noodles

Furthermore, Airbnb often highlights experiences offered by registered nonprofits. There will be a special ribbon icon to make each organization recognizable, and Airbnb will not take any commission fees. This means your entire booking will go directly toward helping us! The funds the classes generate are important for building a more sustainable charity, which we hope will be serving up fun and nutrition to people for many years to come.

Let your fellow travelers know to look for us on Airbnb and that taking a Thai cooking class will help us bolster our mission to feed and educate more people in need!

We Never Lose Our Dreams for Our Children

“I’ve met so many who have lost so much. But they never lose their dreams for their children or their desire to better our world. They ask for little in return – only our support in their time of greatest need” — UN Secretary-General, António Guterres

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On June 17th we celebrated World Refugee Day with 100 of our closest friends and neighbors. Our awesome volunteers joined forces and with their efforts, we were able to provide an entire afternoon of health and wellness for the community. We had an art and craft station, a gardening workshop, a make shift salon, and a fitness session led by a volunteer Crossfit Trainer.

Did you know nearly half of all refugees in 2017 are children?

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With the support of another Bangkok based organization, Jesuit Refugee Services, we were able to feed everyone some of our CK favorites: Green Curry, papaya salad, fish, fruit, and all the trimmings. The kids gobbled it up faster than we could plate!

This momentous occasion marked a special one for our families, as we’re typically caught up in the hustle and bustle of the kitchen. When we’re not cooking, we’re teaching English, or visiting a family in need. For Refugee Day we were able to rest our woks and enjoy celebrating the beauty and diversity that makes up Courageous Kitchen, while honoring those that make up this world.

Written by Christy Innouvong and Photos by Dew Napattaloong

Win A Trip to Thailand for SouthEats Austin!

Thank you for your interest in our first ever Courageous Cook-off!

Designed to unite food, philanthropy, culture, and community, SouthEATS Austin will highlight Southeast Asian culture to raise awareness for asylum seekers and refugees currently displaced in Bangkok, Thailand. Courageous Kitchen, a 501c(3) non-profit focusing on food education, nutrition, and housing, will be hosting a food festival in anticipation of 500 attendees in partnership with the acclaimed Barr Mansion, an award winning indoor/outdoor venue and The Knot best-of-weddings hall of famer.

In addition to the food festival, there will be a Thai-inspired street market and cooking competition judged by local and celebrity chefs. Contestants must submit videos of themselves cooking or sharing their food creations. Only 10 contestants will be chosen to participate, with the chance to win a grand prize of one round trip ticket to Bangkok, Thailand with a food tour guided by Mark Wiens of Migrationology.

#CourageousCookoff will take an active look into what it means for foodies to engage with their local and international communities through cooking. Whether you’re an avid home cook, or a seasoned chef, we want to see you bring the heat and share your spice for life. How has food transformed your life or that of others? How has it helped you overcome obstacles?

Email southeats.austin (at) gmail.com with questions or to submit your video submission by August 11th, 2017.

SouthEATS Austin Food Festival

Be Courageous!

Are you an amazing cook looking for your chance to shine? Create a 30-60 second video showing us how you share your passion through food . Include how you as a foodie are engaged in the industry, or how food, cooking, and community influence your life. Be creative in your submissions. Consider including visual content that is unique to your life and contains elements of the food culture. For example, a short recipe video showing your passion of cooking. The keys to creating a vibrant video shorts are: good lighting, clear sound, rich colors, and clear indications of how your food and community are impactful to you. Cell phone videos are welcomed!

Please start all videos with the following details:

  1. Your Name & Location
  2. Tell us why you’re interested in Southeast Asia
  3. Tell us about your passion for food and how it influences your life
  4. Tell us why you’d make the best contestant for the Courageous Cook-Off

Other Video Contest Requirements:

  • 30 – 60 seconds in length (files no larger than 4GB)
  • We recommend sending MP4 or MOV files with at least 720p resolution.
  • Be clear about how food is influencing your life.
  • Check your sound and lighting settings before filming.
  • Feel free to use camera phones and include food shots of something you’ve prepared before, or cook in the video if you would like (not required).
  • Don’t forget to post your video with #SouthEats, #CourageousCookoff, #CourageousKitchen hashtags!
  • Deadline to submit is Aug. 11th, 2017

Post, share, and submit your videos on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter using #SouthEATS and also #CourageousCookoff while also sharing links to your website or portfolio by August 11th, 2017.

Selected participants must pay their $150 entrance fee no later than August 25th, 2017 .

Once confirmation of payment is received, we will notify you with day of schedule and supplies needed. The most innovative and creative videos capturing the essence of food and community will be contacted to take part in the SouthEATS Austin Courageous Cook-off on September 24th, 2017 at Barr Mansion in Austin, Texas.

Eligibility Requirements:

Contestant must be 18 years or older at time of competition, with proof of valid government issued identification.
Must be a US citizen or permanent resident with a passport and at least six months validity for international travel.
Any actions or language deemed inappropriate for a family friendly event will be cause for immediate disqualification.

Upon selection, contestant will have (7) days to accept or reject invitation to compete. If accepted, parties must be physically present in Austin, Texas on September 24, 2017 for the competition. Contest fees are non-refundable, non-transferable, and non-negotiable. Courageous Kitchen Inc. and Barr Mansion accept no responsibility for any health or accident related injuries that take place on or prior to competition, rendering you unable to perform duties as outlined.

Winner of Courageous Cook-off will receive a Grand Prize of (1) round trip ticket from the US to Bangkok, Thailand (up to $1200 USD) along with a 1⁄2 day Food Tour.

Any additional costs, i.e. airport taxes, taxis, baggage, and in-city fees are solely covered by the individual. First place winner must notify Courageous Kitchen Inc. in writing at least (60) days before intended travel date.

Email southeats.austin (at) gmail.com with questions or to sumbit your video submission by August 11th, 2017.