Fun in Bangkok: I Cooked with Poo and I Liked It!
Klong Toey is a district of Bangkok known for its large slum. This poor community is a mass of dilapidated shops and housing amid crushing poverty. Located near the main port on the Chao Phraya, Klong Toey residents deal with drugs, gang violence and feelings of hopelessness due to a lack of opportunities in education and employment.
Despite this grim landscape, there are pockets of positivity. Khun Poo, (real name Saiyuud Diwong is nicknamed Poo after the rose apple fruit called chompoo in Thai), is one of those rays of sunshine that brightens the lives of many people in her community. She had a small business selling cooked food from her home. When the price of rice doubled, she felt lost until a generous neighbor and the community center helped her start a cooking school back in 2007.
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She worked hard, learned English and her cooking school exploded in popularity with locals and tourists. After eight years and a catastrophic fire setback, today Poo and her staff have a new space in Klong Toey. Cooking with Poo classes teach 12 persons per class 6 days per week. Poo is even a media personality, going to London to be on Jamie Oliver’s cooking show!
The cooking school has changed the Klong Toey community into a better place. But Poo is dedicated to sharing her success and being a model of neighbors helping neighbors. Through her cooking school, booked up a month in advance, Poo provides employment and helps mentor and finance other neighbors to start a business.
Working together with Helping Hands, a Klong Toey community organization, Poo also mentors young people gain work experience and confidence to work outside the slum in the Munjai Café. Others beneficiaries of Helping Hands’ microfinance scheme who have been able to start and grow a small business then become mentors to neighbors and continue to spread new opportunities.
For more information about Cooking With Poo and how to fit this excellent cooking class and tour of the Klong Toey open market into a fun tour of Bangkok, please contact to [email protected]
For more information: http://www.cookingwithpoo.com/cooking-classes