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Faithful mark the end of Buddhist Lent

Awk Phansa draws over 1,000 people

A parade was held to mark Awk Phansa near Chiang Mai University at 7 a.m. on October 9, 2014.

By Shana Kongmun
Chiang Mai Buddhist faithful marked the end of Buddhist Lent, or Awk Phansa, by feeding monks as they left their temples at the end of the rains retreat. Awk Phansa is a three month period that sees monks remain in the temple. The end is marked by Thod Kathin where new robes and offerings are made to monks for a month. The final day of the Buddhist Lent period falls on the full-moon day of the eleventh lunar moon.
This day commemorates when Buddha descended back to earth after spending three months in heaven where he had visited his mother. His return was greeted by his followers with gifts of food, modern Buddhists mark the day by visiting wats and giving and other offerings. Khao Phansa began on July 11, 2014, Awk Phansa was commemorated on October 9, 2014 with a large merit making ceremony at 7 a.m. where alms and food were offered to 600 monks by over 1,000 people in the Tak Bat Devo ceremony. (Photos courtesy of Chiang Mai Municipality).

Over 600 monks and novices from temples around Chiang Mai gathered near Chiang Mai University to receive alms and mark the end of Buddhist Lent.

1,000 people joined the Awk Phansa event near CMU to offer alms to monks.

Chiang Mai celebrates organic produce at 1st Asian Organic Gourmet Festival

137 Pillars house hosts celebrity chefs

Celebrity Chef Wan visits the herb garden at 137 Pillars House with guests for his cooking demonstration to find ingredients for lunch.

By Shana Kongmun
Chiang Mai’s own 137 Pillars House held the inaugural Asian Organic Gourmet Festival Extravaganza from October 9 -12 at the hotel and featured the incredibly funny and deservedly popular global celebrity Chef Wan from Malaysia who has cooked for the Malaysian Royal Family as well as the first Asian chef signed up for Fox TV’s food show “East Bites West”. Also joining Chef Wan was Chef Tammasak Chootong, the owner of the famous Suay Restaurant in Phuket and 137 Pillars House own Chef Amporn Choeng-Ngam who has won gold and silver medals in cooking competitions in Thailand and Bali.

Chef Wan shows off lunch in progress.

Each chef held a lunchtime cooking course with visits to the herb garden to find ingredients for the lunches. Chef Wan lived up to his reputation with his witty, at times risqué and always very funny presentation of traditional Malay food that was absolutely delicious.
There was also an organic market during the day featuring organic Italian wine, produce from Royal Project and other organic local producers.
Chef Wan presented a family style organic Malay dinner the first night, followed by Chef Tammasak the next evening while the final evening saw a gala 6 course meal cooked by all three chefs along with visiting chef Luboš Rychvalskýwho flew in from Prague just for this even. Each chef came into the restaurant to present their dishes. A silent auction was held to raise funds for the Skills for Life Foundation which will provide training for the graduates of the School for Life so that they have the skills needed to enter the work world successfully. The auction raised 97,100 baht for the Foundation.
Chiang Mai looks forward to next year’s Asian Organic Gourmet Festival and what intriguing and interesting chefs that will offer up their creations.

Tumtum offered their organic pastes, soy sauces and other tasty ingredients.

Pakin Ploypicha and Toby Allen are joined by Michael Peh (center) of Pinnacle Gastro Co., one of the major sponsors of the event.

137 Pillars House General Manager Manfred Ilg presents Skills for Life Director Dominique Leutwiler (right) and Joanna MacLean before dinner and talks about the work that Skills for Life is doing with disadvantaged teens.

From left: Chef Tammasak Chootong, visiting Chef from Prague Luboš Rychvalský, Chef Wan and Manfred Ilg, General Manager of 137 Pillars House.

Writer Laurence Civil is joined by Maytas Kit-opas and Sarisa Mekmongkhon of the Royal Project Foundation, also sponsors of the event.

Rimping joins the foodie trend

Pop up dinner at Nim City

Rooj Chantrakul of the Ratchamankha Hotel is joined by Gai Lai Mitchawan and friends at the Rimping pop up dinner.

By Shana Kongmun
Rimping Supermarket joined the foodie theme of the past two weeks with a pop up dinner in a currently unused space behind Nim City and a cheese tasting and lecture at the Rimping at Maya Lifestyle Shopping Mall.

Gai Lai is joined by local coffee entrepreneur Ayu “Lee” Chuepa of Akha Ama Coffee fame at the pop up dinner.

The pop up dinner featured veal and pork loin, craft beers and live music, all in a beautifully decorated space that felt wide open. The sold out evening saw over 30 people attend, enjoying drinks in the outdoor space before retiring upstairs for dinner on the evening of October 3, 2014.
They followed up this extravaganza with a cheese tasting given by Gai Lai Mitchawan, Mieko Saho and Atsuko Yano and featured the products of Rustic & Blue alongside locally made goat cheese, and others. In addition to locally made cheeses and jams there was also a presentation on honey. The talk, which was attended by Japanese Consul General Akihiko Fujii and his wife along with Japanese, Thai and other foreign residents, was given in Thai, Japanese and English and was held in the Aji Restaurant in the Rimping Supermarket in Maya Lifestyle Shopping Mall.

Local residents enjoyed the cheese lecture and cheese tasting held at the Rimping in Maya mall.

Foodies and organic lovers celebrate arrival of Chef Cathal Armstrong

Chef Cathal Armstrong, Culinary Ambassador for the U.S. gives a cooking demonstration on his famed Anniversary Stew at a lunch at the dusit D2 hotel.

By Shana Kongmun
The U.S. Consulate in Chiang Mai and the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok brought visiting Cultural Ambassador Chef Cathal Armstrong of Restaurant Eve fame to Chiang Mai to work his culinary magic for foodies, students and gourmands. Chef Armstrong’s devotion to the ideals of environmentalism, health and conservation has led him to lecture abroad at the request of the US State Department. He was invited by the ambassador to the Bloom festival in Ireland to “recreate” First Lady Michelle Obama’s Garden and demonstrated to school children the benefits of growing your own produce; he even has a garden behind his restaurant irrigated by natural rain water.
In addition to a fabulous turkey dinner at Rimping Promenada on Thursday, October 9, 2014 where Chef Cathal served up turkey with stuffing and a fabulous pumpkin pie. The following day he gave a cooking demonstration of his famous Anniversary stew that he cooked for President Obama and his wife as well as flaky delicious all – American apple pie at Moxie Restaurant at dusit D2 hotel.
Chef Armstong also visited Anuban Chiang Mai school where he met with representatives from local schools’ nutrition departments, sharing a special recipe of Chicken Noodle Soup and his experience with the school lunch program The Chef’s Move to School. The program was co-hosted by Anuban Chiangmai School and Primary Education Office Area 1.
During his visit to Chiang Mai he also visited Mae Taeng where he met with Jon Jandai who founded the Pun Pun Center for Self-Reliance offering sustainable living and seed production in Chiang Mai. Jon Jandai, renowned for his self-reliance philosophy was a speaker on TEDx DoiSuthep in 2011. He also visited the Fair Earth Farm, a small experimental organic farm in Mae Rim, run by Jeff Rutherford, an American in Chiang Mai whose efforts aim to improve lives and affordable nutrition in local community by valuing ecology.

Chef Armstrong and Chef from Rimping at the turkey dinner at Rimping Promenada.

Phairoj Phatphornpinyosakul (left) and French Honorary Consul Thomas Baude join Chef Armstrong for the turkey dinner.

From left: Phairoj Phatphornpinyosakul, U.S. Consul General Michael Heath, Oy and George Sioris, and French Hooroary Consul Thomas Baude at the lunch demonstration by Chef Cathal Armstrong at the dusit D2 Hotel.

dusitD2 chiang mai hosted the special event with Chef Cathal Armstrong in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy Bangkok, the U.S. Consulate General Chiang Mai and the Northern Chef Association.

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Faithful mark the end of Buddhist Lent

Chiang Mai celebrates organic produce at 1st Asian Organic Gourmet Festival

Rimping joins the foodie trend

Foodies and organic lovers celebrate arrival of Chef Cathal Armstrong