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 we 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.

9 Nonprofits in Bangkok You Should Know!

9 Nonprofits in Bangkok You Should Know!

Although information about them isn’t always readily available, there are many great nonprofit organizations in Bangkok. The work they’re doing is interesting, important, and diverse in each orgs’ area of impact. As we share in our Thai cooking class with guests about our work serving Bangkok’s most marginalized youth, we often have opportunities to point people towards other organizations as well.

Here’s a brief description, followed by links, to charities we believe you should know about, and may not easily come across on your own.

**Special thanks to the University of California’s EAP Internship program with Thammasat University for bringing many of these great organizations to our attention. 

1) ANFREL

South East Asia is a hotbed of political unrest and tension between parties jockeying to have a say in how each country develops. While the style of government differs in each country, there are none that can deny the importance of hearing citizens’ voices. Bangkok based ANFREL works to develop fair elections and an informed populace throughout the region.

Asian Network for Free Elections

2) Needeed

Pronounced like the word ‘needed’ this organization serves to find ways to solve capacity problems of nonprofits, while simultaneously serving the CSR needs of corporations. Organizations short of funding, training, or technical know-how find the Needeed team, who helps develop and execute a plan. While helping organizations who serve those most in need, they also assist companies in accomplishing the volunteering and giving objectives of organizations genuinely interested in corporate social responsibility.

NeeDEED 

3) CrCF

 

 CrCF’s art therapy project in action. 

 

The Cross-Cultural Foundation works to build on peace-making efforts in conflict prone areas. Their work takes on a variety of forms from petitioning governments to defend human rights’, to providing legal aid to those in need, and working hands on with victims of torture to strengthen resilience in communities. Their work is needed in Thailand’s southernmost province where conflict ensues, as well as other similar places throughout the region.

Cross-Cultural Foundation

4) Internews

Internews is an organization battling to solve information poverty. They operate on the pillar that access to truthful, credible information improves quality of life for all. This includes working behind the scenes to promote media literacy in the region, as well as supporting less represented communities to produce their own news content. These efforts serve to create better quality information sources that all types of people in varied locations can use to make more informed choices.

Internews

5) PSPF

The People Serving People Foundation is focused on serving vulnerable populations throughout the region. Their efforts focus on self reliance and legal aid for at risk communities. The organization is also responsible for operating the social enterprise Chamaliin, which produces sustainable handicrafts supporting urban refugees.

People Serving People Foundation

 

 A refugee woman sews her embroidery on a Chamaliin product.

6) Wedu

Wedu is an organization focusing on bolstering the role of women in societies around South East Asia. Their focus is helping provide funding, training, and mentorship for women as they pursue higher education and ambitious careers. Most notably their FISA (Future Income Sharing Agreements) program allows ambitious young women an alternative to loans in order to secure the financing needed to further their higher education endeavors.

Wedu

7) Childsafe

Childsafe, an organization protecting children, is an organization relevant to both visitors to Thailand and locals alike. Their Think Child Safe! campaign hopes to educate people on how they may be unknowingly endangering children. They are providing guidelines for the best child protection policies in a wide breadth of situations where people may come in contact with minors. The Childsafe organization is instrumental in training local businesses and key individuals in communities on how to identify and report abuse of children. The training they offer is available for everyone from a 5-star hotel’s general manager, to tour guides, and local neighborhood tuk tuk taxi drivers.

Childsafe 

8) Asia Pacific Trans Network

The Asia Pacific Trans Network or APTN is an organization advocating for the human rights of gender diverse people in Asia. Now more than ever people are becoming aware of how gender bias and discrimination in a society can negatively impact and endanger lives. Despite being increasingly discussed in the western world, recognizing each individuals human rights regardless of gender, is still a developing conversation in South East Asia. This makes the work of APTN both challenging and especially relevant in today’s efforts to create more welcoming and inclusive societies.

Asia Pacific Trans Network

 

 Courageous Kitchen teaches cooking and confidence!

9) Courageous Kitchen

Last, but not least Courageous Kitchen! While our cooking classes and street food tours are among the most popular in Thailand, not everyone knows about our social mission. Long before we were teaching master classes on pad thai, our team was active in marginalized communities providing transformational assistance and education. We believe food has the power to transform communities and treat the kitchen as a classroom, teaching aspiring young cooks to speak English better, thrive under pressure, and develop leadership skills.

Donate to Courageous Kitchen

At Courageous Kitchen we have a lot of fun and are privileged to run into many great organizations along the way. We hope we will be able to continue to share more of them with you as we grow!

Follow our Courageous Kitchen page on Facebook and be sure to let us know if you found this information helpful.

 

Author: Dwight

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

Live Collar Free

Live Collar Free

This is not our typical type of post, nor is it an easy one to share. However, our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of one of our dear friends and longtime CK volunteers and collar free hype man, James Schipper. 💔

We met James many years ago as he was traveling Southeast Asia with his partner and would always happily stop in and help. His eagerness to learn, explore, and love rubbed off on every one of us — especially the children. He was usually the first to taste test a new recipe or get his hands dirty; all while showing off his huge smile and the daily worn-down black flip flops.


We will remember James for his infectious energy and his readiness to be silly and play, bringing joy to so many others.

Some of our fondest memories of James were exploring the streets of Penang, Malaysia and tumbling down the hills with the kids at our local Thai park. Our latest adventure: slurping down bowls of Khao Soi in Chiang Mai after a night of market shopping.

James, your spirit and energy for living a collar free life will always be remembered. You were a true friend, genuine to the core with amazing wit to match. Our hearts go out to all of your loved ones. The Courageous crew are all honored to have shared a little part of our lives with you. 🙏🏽

Author: Christy

Christy is the San Diego based Deputy Director of Courageous Kitchen. She strongly believes kitchens are the best classrooms. 

A Simple Recipe for Cooking Thai Coconut Pancakes with Kids!

A Simple Recipe for Cooking Thai Coconut Pancakes with Kids!

Happy 2019 everyone! We finished 2018 on a high, hosting a record number of families in our kids cooking class. So we want to continue to encourage people to get into the kitchen as a family throughout 2019, starting with the first holiday on the calendar, Thai Children’s Day!

Happy Children’s Day!

For the occasion we’re sharing a special recipe that’s easy for kids, tasty for adults, and doesn’t create too much of a mess in the kitchen. The tasty recipe we chose is Thai Coconut Pancakes!

We have been making this simple recipes in our cooking classes, and recently took St. Andrews school, to teach 8-11 year old students in the Eco-Beasts program, while discussing eco-friendly food and packaging.

We’ve got to get more young people thinking about sustainability to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals!

Now it’s your turn to make this simple Thai recipe! There are only 5 ingredients. Share these tasty treats by cooking and eating them with your family. If you love them, remember to support Courageous Kitchen with a donation to help us provide food and education to marginalized youth in Bangkok!

Ingredients

This recipes makes 12-15 silver dollar sized pancakes.

  • 2 cups of sticky rice flour
  • 2 cups of shredded coconut
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup of rice flour
  • 1/3 cup of white sugar
Let’s get more young people in the kitchen in 2019, no matter their age!
Teaching students to make Thai coconut pancakes and banana leaf container trays.

Thai Coconut Pancake Instructions

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a mixing bowl until smooth. Add a tap of extra coconut milk if it doesn’t whisk smoothly.
  2. Put a non-stick pan on medium heat, pouring the batter carefully.
  3. When you begin to see bubbles in your pancakes, flip them until they’ve been suitably browned on each side. If your pan is warm enough, this should take only 2-3 minutes on each side.
  4. Allow to cool and serve the hot Thai pancakes on banana leaf instead of plastic or styrofoam!
Jub learning to make butterfly pea, coconut, and corn pancakes!

Can I use other fruit in the pancake instead of coconut?

This isn’t a great recipe if you’re not a fan of coconut, because it includes both shredded coconut and coconut milk. However, you can substitute the 2 cups of shredded coconut with 2 bananas, and make the very banana flavored version. The students we met at St. Andrews recently couldn’t decide which version they liked best!

Why does it seem like so much sugar?

When mixing the batter it can seem that you’re using a lot of sugar. However remember that you’re also getting sweetness from your shredded coconut. The pancakes should ideally be sweet enough that you do not need to add any syrup or butter, making them a significantly healthier snack or breakfast choice than traditional western pancakes.

thai coconut pancake recipe-2
These medallion sized Thai coconut pancakes are kids sized by default, and don’t need butter or syrup to be enjoyed!

Do street food vendors sell these coconut pancakes?

You can find these coconut pancakes at the street food vendors in Bangkok, however, they will be a different style. The type featured in this Children’s Day recipe is called paengji (แป้งจี่), but the type you see more commonly on the street is kanom babin (บ้าบิ่น). You can differentiate them easily because kanom babin is usually smaller and a variety of colors from including taro or pandan. If you spot them have a try, they are equally delicious!

If you enjoyed these recipes and info, don’t forget you can support us by joining a kids cooking class, or donating to our efforts to help people in the need!

Brewing Courage

Brewing Courage

Love Coffee? Us too! Give a gift that gives back this holiday!

 We recently partnered with our friends from Solid Roasters to bring you quality coffee delivered right to your doorstep. This is big news just in time for the holidays for our fans living in the US. Now you can support Courageous Kitchen, with a cup of coffee, and when gifting coffee to a loved one. By purchasing a monthly subscription, you’ll receive two fair trade bags of high quality, whole or ground beans AND help us continue to provide food aid and education to marginalized youth.

Our roasters believe that coffee’s cultural pervasiveness has a unique advantage to shine light in dark places. They’ve sourced direct-trade beans from under-funded farmers, addressing the power imbalances typically found in organic growing methods. These ethical sourcing methods incentivize the quality of the beans. Whether bold, blonde, sweet, or rich, the distinct blends focus on the nuance and personality of each bean and region.

Were currently offering three single origin choices:

  • Light | Ethiopian Coffee
  • Medium | Colombian Coffee
  • Dark | Guatemalan Coffee

Ethically Sourced

Freshly Roasted

Gives Back

By purchasing a monthly coffee subscription you’re helping us supply a family with rice, and other supplies that will help combat the ills of malnutrition. Let’s share the beauty of speciality coffee, provide a fair wage to farmers, and spread love to the families in need this holiday!

Courageous Kitchen Monthly Coffee Subscription

A 10oz bag of specialty beans will be mailed to you on the 1st & 15th of each month. About a one month supply of beans for 1-2 coffee drinkers.
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Author: Christy

Christy is the San Diego based Deputy Director of Courageous Kitchen. She strongly believes kitchens are the best classrooms. 

We’re Heating Up Winter Markets with Chili Jam and Pad Thai Sauce!

We’re Heating Up Winter Markets with Chili Jam and Pad Thai Sauce!

It’s that time of year in Bangkok, when the weather drops only 5 degrees and we have our official winter angst! While we await a cooler breeze to arrive, each day we’re inching toward the year end holidays, with lots of happenings around town for both tourists and expats alike. We hope to meet a few of you who’ve escaped winter in our cooking class this month, but here’s a few more places to spot us!

 

We’re featured in this month’s edition of Bambi News!

  • NIST International School’s Festive Coffee Morning
  • Afro Magic’s Art, Music, & Dance Celebration (Dec. 9th)
  • Lush Thailand’s Charity Party (Dec. 16th, Mega Bangna Location)
  • December 2018’s Edition of Bambi News

If you find us at one of the popular winter markets, be sure to look for our new 120ml bottles of vegan chili jam and pad thai sauce. The new compact packaging will be easier to grab as a gift, or throw in your suitcase for the long journey home. The pad thai sauce jars are enough to cook 3-4 portions of noodles, and the chili jam is a great addition to Asian style soups, salads, and stir frys.

Grab a sauce from us at a winter event, or in your Thai cooking class!

 Just be sure to remember all the products are made with no funky additives, so to be sure to refrigerate them after opening. Of course, we have these Thai recipes available if you want to try your hand at making them at home. 

We’ll be celebrating at a few ‘winter markets’ around town, and hope you’ll come and find us, grab a bottle of sauce, a Courageous Kitchen apron, and an end of the year photo with us!

All cooking classes and product sales help families in need and fund fun cooking activities for our students!

PSFor CK fans stateside don’t feel left out, we have something brewing for you in 2019!

Author: Dwight

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