FOODIES WEST.COM         
OWNER/CHEF VANDA ASAPAHU
AYARA THAI CUISINE in LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
January 2017 Issue | Vol. 5, No. 1
      I don't think change, in general, needs to be made at the top level.












 

 








 
 
 
 


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Executive Chef
BELMOND EL ENCANTO
SANTA BARBARA, CA

JOHAN DENIZOT

ANDREW STEINER
ANDREW'S CHEESE SHOP
Wondrous Winter Cheeses

Sommelier
  BELMOND EL ENCANTO
SANTA BARBARA, CA

JEREMY SEWELL

DRAMBUIE
  with VANCE HENDERSON
A Living Liquid Legend

Vanda Asapahu shares why her Thai restaurant has become one of L.A.'s best. See what she said on our —


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Deep Nutrition
by Cate Shanahan, M.D.

Are you serving Phat Fat?

     
ASHLAND HILL
  SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA
Not just another gin joint

     
EL ENCANTO DINING ROOM
  SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA


     
HOT SAUCE NATION
A look the food industry's current hot product


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Vanda Asapahu | Owner/Chef | Ayara Thai Cuisine | Los Angeles, California The day after Christmas 2004, the third-largest instrument-recorded earthquake shook the planet. The Sumatra-Andaman earthquake, registering 9.1 on a seismograph, started a global humanitarian effort to handle the devastation from the tsunami that followed on lands along the Indian Ocean. Among the aid workers was Vanda Asapahu. “I finished my masters in public health during the time the tsunami happened,” Asapahu said. “That opened up opportunities to intern in Thailand. I was actually in training with the United Nations at the time.” Asapahu, born in Bangkok, had moved to California with her family in the mid-1980s. Her parents worked for Thai Airways at the time. “My mom was working in the catering department and my dad in operations,” Asapahu said. “I was four and my brother three. They wanted a new life with new opportunities for their family. We weren’t in school yet, so they thought it was a good time to move, just because we could enter into kindergarten and do the whole education here.” Her parents, both chefs, didn’t immediately return to their food roots. “My dad started his own company doing cleaning services for gas stations,” Asapahu said. “My mom was a stay-at-home-mom for a bit, then picked up some odd jobs. But was mainly at home when we grew up.” Then the Gulf War hit, gas prices went up, and gas stations couldn’t afford to hire Asapahu’s dad. So he decided to come back to food. “Which was always his passion,” Asapahu said. “He got into catering with Thai Airways. With his connection to the airlines, he catered from home.”