Meet Thai Isaan Chef Intu
We're so pleased to feature Intu-on, an amazing Thai Isaan chef who hosts pop-ups around the Bay Area. She recently designed the menu at Jo's Modern Thai, a new restaurant in Oakland that's set to open this summer.
"I’m Chef Intu. I grew up in a small town called Udon Thani in northeast Thailand, a region known as 'Isaan'. My dad would make the best duck salad called larb ped and my mom made the best Bangkok food called nam prik. Every time they were in the kitchen, I would stop what I was doing and help them.
I decided to move to California after I graduated with a bachelor's degree in environmental science. At first I wanted to pursue a master's degree, but then I discovered that cooking is my passion. I attended the International Culinary Center (ICC), founded by the French Culinary Instituted (FCI).
While attending ICC, I worked at multiple restaurants to learn the techniques and the trade of cooking, as well as pay my rent. It's really hard to live in the city without working because it's so expensive. I commuted from SF to Campbell every day and kept cooking Thai food while also learning French technique. I worked at Marnee Thai with Chef Chai Siriyan, and at Kitchen Story with Chef Kasem Saengsawang (who is now the owner of Farmhouse Thai).
After graduating from culinary school my career took off and I took a job offer from the Range (a Michelin star restaurant), where I was mentored by Chef Rachel Silcock. Later I found my way to Outerlands restaurant and worked with Chef Yoni Levy to learn Californian and French cooking styles.
Then, I decided to move to LA to continue my career. I worked at the Rustic Canyon and learned from Chef Jeremy Fox, who taught me a lot about Californian cuisine and sourcing produce from local farmers. One day I decided I wanted to go back to the cuisine of my cultural roots, Thai food. This led me to work at Night+Market as a kitchen manager with Chef Kris Yenbamroong. Chef Kris taught me a lot about being more than just a chef, he taught me how to run a restaurant. I helped open the third location of Night+Market.
Photo courtesy of Intu
After gaining 2 years of experience at Night+Market, I decided to move back to the Bay Area. San Francisco was the first city I lived in when I came to the U.S. , and I also followed my heart to my boyfriend (who is now my fiancé). I started my own pop up at Harmonic Brewing to test my food concept - Isaan, Thai, Californian style. Eventually I got a job as a sous chef at Kin Khao (a Thai restaurant with one Michelin star) working under chef Pim Techamuanvivit for a year. Currently I host a pop up at Birba Wine Bar in San Francisco every Sunday. I also do jobs on the side like teaching cooking classes, consulting, and creating recipes for the public."
Thank you so much Intu for sharing her story with us! Tuk Tuk Box is proud to exclusively feature Southeast Asian ingredients and include refugee, migrant, and generational stories in every box.
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