For a small Thai woman she sure is powerful! After just a few months in Vermont, Kae Alexander is well known for her authentic Thai cooking throughout the Castleton/Poultney area and now becoming equally famous in Shelburne (the town she now calls home) and throughout several counties in Vermont. The owner and chef of three restaurants in Thailand, she knows what people like to eat and she has the talent to prepare it. “I come to Vermont and I think people here really like Thai food.” She first started in the Castlelton area, teaching Thai cuisine classes. She carefully instructed someone to prepare authentic Thai and the lady started her own Thai take-out business which became a huge success in the small town of Poultney. Kae stayed around to help cook as well bringing in many new customers from the two colleges in the area. People would come around specifically asking “Is Kae cooking today?” Even the Fair Haven police were loyal customers urging the Vergennes police to come down to try the Thai food. “At first,” Kae says, “I get scared a little because I hear the police come to look for me. Then I hear that they need Thai food so I am relieved!”.
One day in April 2012, Kae decided to cook and sell Thai food at the home she was renting on Rte. 30 at Lake Bomoseen. “I thought maybe a few people might want to buy my food so I set my wok up in front of the house. People stopped their cars to buy Pad Thai and then more people came, then more stopped and there was a big traffic jam!”. One of the people who stopped by was from the State of VT and told her she would have to stop cooking because she caused a traffic jam. “He was very nice but people wanted their Thai food so they told him to go away. But, I don’t want to cause problems so I stopped selling Thai food from my house”. That’s probably the point where Kae became the new local celebrity. She became well know throughout the area and people urged her to start a restaurant. Unfortunately, nothing was available for lease at the time.
Knowing that she and her husband would move to her husband’s Shelburne home, she decided to wait and apply for permits in Shelburne instead. She decided on catering rather than take-out because she was the only cook and would need preparation time in advance. “I don’t want to teach people to help me cook Thai food because they always start to cook different. I want my customers to enjoy the same Thai food I make for my family”. Quite a task considering that some ingredients are more costly. “I think to have a restaurant is not easy and expensive maybe to serve real Thai food here?” To keep overhead costs low, yet authentic, Kae thought a home catering business would work well. “But now many people are hungry for Thai food and they want take-out. I am happy to do that for them if they can wait for me a little bit to cook fresh food.”
Perhaps the business model is about to change? “I like to do catering,” Kae says “it gives me time to make sure everything is ready and prepared on time for my customers. But I think take-out is good too as long as people can be patient and wait because I cook everything fresh.” Business often morphs into something that people do not expect. “I would like to move to a more suitable location. Maybe not a restaurant but something where I can have a kitchen more ready to prepare take-out. A few tables for my customers to enjoy some Thai tea and read the newspaper, etc. while they wait for their order would be nice too”.
So in just a couple short months it appears that the business is so successful, it has already outgrown it’s location. “We hope to sell the house soon. It is very good for business and has such a beautiful view.” Kae stirs a simmering pot of massaman curry. “People around Shelburne, Charlotte, Burlington and Ferrisburg are my regular customers. Others come here from as far as NY, Montreal and other parts of Vermont because they read about me in Seven Days newspaper and Shelburne News. I hope someday soon we can find a new location where my customers can wait and relax, while I cook their Thai food.”
She truly loves cooking and her work. “I think if my customers are happy then I am very happy too!”
To view the latest menu, order Thai Catering or Thai food to go visit http://www.thaicateringvt.com
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