About the Chef
Hi, I’m Niti Muelaeku, a member of the Akha hill tribe, an ethnic-minority group with villages scattered across parts of northern Thailand. I consider myself to be Thai-Akha, and this shows in the type of fusion cuisine I create in my own kitchen.
I have loved cooking since I was a child. I first learned to cook Akha food with my family. We would create three meals a day from fresh ingredients we grew in the village, and enjoyed them together family-style from large dishes arranged on a rattan serving table.
As I grew up, I discovered that my neighbours made the best Thai street food, and I started learning how to cook Thai dishes with them. Later, I spent about four years in the USA – first as a student and then working in the kitchens of fine-dining restaurants.
Cooking has always been a part of my life, and I’ve loved it as long as I can remember. In fact, just thinking about spending time in the kitchen creating some delicious food brings a smile to my face. I also love trying new foods – and I’ll try just about anything once.
If you never try, you’ll never know!
Part of the fun of cooking Thai food is finding little ways to make your version stand out from the “same same, but different” style of dishes that you find at a lot of restaurants and street vendors around the country.
And as you’ll learn from the recipes in this cookbook, I believe in experimenting with ingredients, spices and your cooking technique in order to create dishes that you really love to eat.
Owner and Chef at Thai Akha Kitchen