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$27,047 pledged of $59,000 goal
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$27,047 pledged of $59,000 goal
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About this project

Hi there!

I'm very excited to let everyone know that I'm planning a huge cooking tour starting in the USA.

Over the past 20 years, tens of thousands of travelers to Thailand have enjoyed my unique vegetarian and vegan cuisine, and also the culturally inspired, high-spirited cooking classes that have become synonymous with May Kaidee (my stage name). But of course, not everyone can travel to Thailand for this experience, so I've developed a plan to bring it to as many as possible who might enjoy eating healthy Thai food and learning how to prepare it themselves.

I also want to reconnect with my past students and customers, so during my tour I’ll definitely visit as many of you as I can.

Having a good time with my cooking class students
Having a good time with my cooking class students

 

Students in Thailand enjoying the dish they created
Students in Thailand enjoying the dish they created

 

Sharing something "delicioso" with students on my recent Caribbean cooking tour
Sharing something "delicioso" with students on my recent Caribbean cooking tour

The Plan

My plan involves buying a small food truck (a customized VW Bus), and traveling around the USA for 6 months offering vegan meals to individuals, groups, and organizations. Along the way I'll visit food and music festivals as well, which offers a great opportunity to cook for many people in a single location. While on tour, I'll teach cooking classes to all those interested, hoping to educate people on the health benefits of the Thai ingredients used in my recipes, as well as benefits of eating plant-based food in general, not just for our body but also for the environment. Additionally, I want to stop at community centers and shelters along the way to donate both meals and cooking instruction, because I believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to experience healthy food that tastes great.

After the USA tour, my stretch goals are to continue in Canada, Central and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Map showing everywhere I'll pass through while on tour (click the icons for dates)
Map showing everywhere I'll pass through while on tour (click the icons for dates)

 

  
Rallying for flood victims in Thailand (2011)
Rallying for flood victims in Thailand (2011)

 

Introducing people to Thai vegan food in New York City
Introducing people to Thai vegan food in New York City

 

How the VW Bus will look with a custom finish
How the VW Bus will look with a custom finish

How I got the idea

Eight years ago, when I first visited the USA, I noticed immediately how popular fast food was. Everywhere I went, I saw many people eating unhealthy food. Even though I’ve returned several times since then and I still see the same thing, I know from experience that many people with poor eating habits actually do want to make changes in their diet but just don’t know how or where to start. I feel I can help such people by introducing them to a delicious, healthy alternative in Thai vegan food.

One of my delicious vegan noodle and vegetable dishes
One of my delicious vegan noodle and vegetable dishes

Even if you already eat vegan food, my signature Thai recipes are sure to give you a special culinary experience.

A curry dish that we'll have fun making together!
A curry dish that we'll have fun making together!

Let’s arrange for me to visit you on my tour, so that you can enjoy the same cuisine thousands of others have enjoyed at my restaurants in Thailand — whether I cook it for you myself or we do it together in a class.

Three great chefs of tomorrow learning to make chili paste
Three great chefs of tomorrow learning to make chili paste

 

Cooking school students in Bangkok celebrating their experience together
Cooking school students in Bangkok celebrating their experience together

Rewards

I'm offering attractive reward options, including downloadable recipes from my cookbook, a printed version of my cookbook, my special blend of chili paste, hot sauce, and dipping sauce, as well as cooking classes.

 

Note: For the rewards that include my visiting your home or organization, I just ask that you be flexible in terms of the exact date we agree on for me to visit. It's possible that I'll need to stay in certain areas longer than planned if I have many rewards to fulfill in such areas. The interactive map shows the tour dates as I have planned them (click the icons), but it's possible the schedule will need to be adjusted slightly. Also, if you would like me to visit for a dinner or cooking class on a date not marked on the map, please don’t hesitate to contact me, because it's possible I'll be able to visit you on your preferred date. I will certainly work with everyone to make sure we have great cooking experiences together.

What I've accomplished so far

I've already found a VW Bus in great condition for sale within my budget. It had a new engine installed only two years ago and had a number of other aging parts replaced.

Sitting in what will be my new food truck (before custom painting)
Sitting in what will be my new food truck (before custom painting)

I've found a fantastic restoration company that specializes in VW Buses and received a reasonable price quote for giving it a custom paint job and equipping the interior for my needs.

Since 2003, I’ve conducted brief cooking tours in the USA, Great Britain, Japan, Russia, and the Dominican Republic. I often receive invitations to lecture at retreats, health seminars, and food events worldwide, and I’ve appeared on television in Thailand, Germany, France, and China.

On the set of a Bangkok TV program (with a cooking class student)
On the set of a Bangkok TV program (with a cooking class student)

 

Standing at the Lincoln Memorial (I've heard he was a vegetarian!)
Standing at the Lincoln Memorial (I've heard he was a vegetarian!)

 

Presenting food at a private dinner party
Presenting food at a private dinner party

 

On tour in Japan, helping students with a mortar and pestle
On tour in Japan, helping students with a mortar and pestle

How the funds will be used

 Most of the funds will be used to complete the custom food truck and cover the costs of traveling on tour. The following is a detailed breakdown of all expected costs and expenses.

  • Custom food truck: $22,000
  • Fuel: $2,000
  • Accommodation: $7,500
  • Startup material (ingredients, etc.): $4,000
  • Staff: $11,000
  • Marketing: $5,000
  • Administration: $5,000
  • Licenses and permits: $3,000

In the Press

A few mentions about May Kaidee...

The New York TimesCNN, Toronto Star, Swell Magazine, VegNews, Lonely Planet, National Geographic Traveler

Follow me on my journey

See the latest updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

My personal journey

Despite being relatively successful, and also happy, things were not always so good for me. When I was a young girl, poverty in my village in northeastern Thailand often meant eating whatever "meat" was available — from snakes and scorpions to rats and dogs. So I was sick a lot of the time, but thankfully, life got better as I learned to grow vegetables (and I was even able to sell some).

Then something really great happened: my aunt called from the capital, Bangkok, and asked my parents if I could come work in her vegetarian restaurant. I couldn’t speak any English then and was afraid of foreigners, so for the first year there I mainly stayed in the kitchen, washing dishes. But after a while, once my aunt turned me into a server, I developed the confidence to learn basic English and also to cook her recipes.

A few years later, when I was twenty, I started May Kaidee’s Thai Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant from my process of experimenting with my aunt’s menu and also eliminating the animal ingredients from certain famous Thai non-vegetarian recipes, creating my own flavors, sauces, and pastes in their place.

Several of those early creations have remained on the May Kaidee menu up to today. Mine is a small but successful business (by Thailand’s standards), with locations in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, that employs many people who I called in from my village the same way my aunt called me in all those years ago. Now I turn my heart and mind to what I can offer elsewhere, not just in the context of providing enjoyable Thai vegetarian/vegan dishes and cooking classes, but also in terms of actively promoting plant-based food for a healthier body and environment. If I’m given the opportunity to do that, I’ll certainly make the most of it.

Risks and challenges

Since I've already led cooking tours in various countries, I'm confident that my team and I will be able to handle any challenges that might occur along the way. Fortunately, I have a great support network in the USA, so I'll never be far from help, if needed. Also, I've chosen a VW Bus for the specific reason that it is an easy vehicle to maintain compared with other types of vans/trucks. The VW Bus is very reliable.

If my truck happens to get damaged at any point, I will have insurance to guarantee that I can get back on the road in a reasonable amount of time. At worst, some of the dates would have to be pushed forward, but I would still be able to complete the tour.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Digital download of one of the most popular recipes from my cookbook.

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    Digital download of 5 of the most popular recipes from my cookbook.

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    Digital download of 10 of the most popular recipes from my cookbook.

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    Digital download of my entire cookbook. Over 50 recipes.

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    Pledge $18 or more About $18

    May Kaidee's Sauce and Paste set. Includes 1 jar of chili paste, 1 bottle of hot sauce and 1 bottle of dipping sauce.

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    Digital download of my entire cookbook. Over 50 recipes. Plus a bottle of May Kaidee's hot sauce.

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    Print version of my cookbook.

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    Print version of my cookbook. Over 50 recipes. Plus a bottle of May Kaidee's hot sauce.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Print version of my cookbook. Over 50 recipes. Plus a jar of May Kaidee's chili paste.

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    Print version of my cookbook that I will personally sign for you.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Print version of my cookbook. Over 50 recipes. Plus a bottle of May Kaidee's hot sauce and jar of May Kaidee's chili paste, and a call with May to consult on making any of the cookbook recipes.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    If I'm passing through your city or town (USA only; see map), I'll stop at your home and give a personalized cooking class for 2 people, or I'll cook a full course dinner for 2 people.

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    If I'm passing through your city or town (USA only; see map), I'll stop at your home and give a personalized cooking class for 4 people, or I'll cook a full course dinner for 4 people.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    I'll visit your home (anywhere in the continental U.S.) and together we'll prepare an authentic Thai vegan meal for up to 4 people you invite, including a personalized cooking lesson for the group and an introduction to traditional Thai dance.

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    I'll visit your home (anywhere in the continental U.S.) and together we'll prepare an authentic Thai vegan meal for up to 6 people you invite, including a personalized cooking lesson for the group and an introduction to traditional Thai dance.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    I'll visit your home (anywhere in the continental U.S.) and together we'll prepare an authentic Thai vegan meal for up to 8 people you invite, including a personalized cooking lesson for the group and an introduction to traditional Thai dance.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    I'll visit your home (anywhere in the continental U.S.) and prepare an authentic Thai vegan meal for up to 16 people you invite, including cooking demonstrations for the group and an introduction to traditional Thai dance. Great for a surprise birthday party, special event with many of your friends and family or a company event.

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    I'll visit your home (anywhere in the continental U.S.) and prepare an authentic Thai vegan meal for up to 32 people you invite, including cooking demonstrations for the group and an introduction to traditional Thai dance. Great for a surprise birthday party, special event with many of your friends and family or a company event.

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    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000

    I'll visit your home (anywhere in the continental U.S.) and prepare an authentic Thai vegan meal for up to 40 people you invite, including cooking demonstrations for the group and an introduction to traditional Thai dance. Great for a surprise birthday party, special event with many of your friends and family or a company event.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    I'll fly you to Thailand to be my guest on cultural tours of Bangkok and Chiang Mai over the course of 10 days. Your trip will include accommodation, meals, cooking classes, Thai massage treatments and more!

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    I'll fly you and a family member or friend to Thailand to be my guests on cultural tours of Bangkok and Chiang Mai over the course of 10 days. Your trip will include accommodation, meals, cooking classes, Thai massage treatments and more!

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Funding period

- (39 days)