White Ivory B&B launches ‘Dad’s Kitchen’ for survival
—— Sources say, yum.
While many countries anticipate an initial recovery of domestic travel before global borders are lowered once more, Thailand is one country that feels international tourists can’t come soon enough.
The country’s travel industry has historically relied largely on foreign travellers, including more than 10 million from China each year – a figure that’s more than double that of its second-highest source market of Malaysia. The spending by foreign tourists, alone, contributes 11 percent to the national economy’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Only a third of the country’s tourism revenue is generated domestically, but it’s a fraction that local hoteliers are having to make do with for now, including the two owners of a B&B who have looked to relive happy childhood memories during this time of need.
Looking to dad’s cooking to save the day
White Ivory B&B is a stylish 12-bedroom property that combines traditional Thai elements with contemporary touches. Opened in 2016, it’s located in the old-capital Thonburi area of Bangkok.
Creativity runs deep in the veins of the property’s sibling owners, Noon and Vasuwit, who also own The Pattern Boutique Hotel, a cleverly-themed, two-storey residence that drew inspiration from its past as a clothing factory. So, when the national lockdown forced Noon and Vasuwit’s properties to close on April 1, they turned to their creative roots for survival.
Armed with the traditional Thai recipes their father has used in the home kitchen for decades, Noon and Vasuwit have adapted their hotel business into a food delivery service. Called KruaKhunPor—or ‘Dad’s Kitchen’ in english—the takeaway restaurant, which kicked off at the end of March, is bringing family cooking secrets to light in order to ride out the impacts of COVID-19.
Among the favourite dishes with the locals so far are the stir fry with mince pork, and the shrimp with garlic, chilli and mushrooms.
Speaking of their motivations for the new venture, Vasuwit says, “We had to adapt quickly when we closed the hotel and start something to survive, so a food delivery service based on the great food our dad makes was the first thing we thought of.”
“He was never a professional cook, he just loves it,” adds Noon. “Every morning when we woke up, he’d already prepared us delicious food, different for every day of the month, so we have been completely addicted to his cooking since we were born. Whenever our friends visited us, they always loved his food as well, so when we were faced with this [COVID-19] situation, we thought why not share his traditional recipes?”
The siblings are proud and excited to be sharing recipes from their father, whose face has inspired the restaurant’s logo.
Says Vasuwit: “It may be a time of self-isolation, but great food will always bring people together and that’s what we’ve always looked to achieve, whether it was through the hospitality we provided at our hotels or, now, through our restaurant.”
A permanent hotel fixture
As the two entrepreneurs continue counting the days until business as usual resumes, they plan to keep busy making food for the increasing number of Thai locals who are enjoying the traditional flavours. Beyond COVID-19, it’s their hope to install the restaurant in their second property also, given the early success.
“So far, everyone is enjoying it and we have just started,” says Vasuwit. “We’d ultimately like to make dad’s recipes famous. It would be a dream for everyone to enjoy the meals that we’ve been lucky enough to have from the day we were born!”
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