Meet Jen Phanomrat
We are so pleased to share close Tuk Tuk Box friend, Southeast Asian sista, food blogger and extraordinaire, and all around joyful being, Jen Phanomrat!
ICYMI: We cooked Pad Kraprow with Jen and her partner Leo earlier this year in April to celebrate the start of Songkran (Thai New Year Festival).
Jen Phanomrat is the co-founder of Just Eat Life, where she explores, creates, and shares all things delicious, cozy, and empowering, together with her partner Leo Samanamud. Her vibrant creations are influenced by her culturally diverse hometown, Queens, NY, along with Filipino and Thai roots.
What inspired you to become a chef/food blogger/influencer?
My love of learning about global cultures through food and sharing what I know with others, in hopes of inspiring reconnection in this very disconnected world. Mom and dad instilled this mission in me, throughout my time on this earth, and I’ll be forever grateful for their open hearts (and stomachs).
Why did you want to highlight the food you are creating?
Floating around between not feeling American enough or Asian enough, I made it my mission to explore and showcase foods that help me fill in those blanks. The more I learn about the ingredients that make up dishes I hold dear to my heart, the more I realize the real historical, global impact that these foods have made during every ingredient’s migration. I want to share those stories with others, so they, too, can deeply appreciate each bite of their favorite foods and taste the flavors with more than their tongues.
What is your favorite dish? Is there a story behind it?
Seco de Manok. It’s a Peruvian/Filipino/Thai-inspired cilantro chicken stew that brings a tear to my eye every time. It was born out of a cultural collaboration between Leo and me, and beautifully carries both of our families' histories with each spoonful. I wrote a whole story about it here (full recipe included)!
What does courage mean to you?
To remember that it’s not all up to you and to have the strength to believe. Just believe.
Where can we expect to see you in the next few years?
I can happily say that I have no idea! All I know is that I’m enjoying the ride and listening with my whole being for what my next steps should be, one step at a time :)
Thank you so much Jen 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.
If you or someone you know wants to share their story with us, send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay tuned for future stories and the newest products by subscribing to our mailing list.