Cooking his noodles and chicken to perfection for his pad thai dish, junior Sean Chaiswat feels at home in the kitchen of his family’s restaurant, Thai Daily BBQ, located in East Cesar E Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles. His family has had the restaurant for 18 years.
“The restaurant has many popular items, [such as] the teriyaki chicken,” Chaiswat said. “They’re all delicious, guaranteed.”
His family’s restaurant has a unique staff consisting of not only family but also immigrants. His family provides job opportunities to immigrants in their restaurant.
“There was a couple named Lit and Fa,” Chaiswat said. “They were poor in New York City and were looking for a job. They saw our ad and decided to contact us to see if they could work for us. With their luggage being stolen on the way here, they lost hope until we came to pick them up. We offered them food and a place to live as long as they work for us. Once they earned enough money, they moved out and now own a nice house.”
Despite the rewarding feeling of giving back, Chaiswat notes that running a restaurant comes with its difficulties.
“Sometimes vendors may not have what we need,” Chaiswat said. “Leaving our customers disappointed and hungry is always the worst feeling.”
Despite the inconvenience, he believes there are many rewards to owning a family restaurant. For instance, Chaiswat learned the importance of working to earn money and the essentialness of teamwork in the kitchen. He not only has sharpened his cooking skills over the years, but he has also learned to perform multiple jobs around the kitchen, improving his flexibility to take on various tasks.
“[Owning a family restaurant] taught me that cooking can be really helpful,” Chaiswat said. “Being at the restaurant taught me to become more social with people as well. Best of all, I get to see hungry faces come through that door, ready to have one of the best meals of their lives.”
As for his future goals, Chaiswat plans to take over the family’s business and carry out his family’s legacy when he is ready.
“I plan to go to culinary class so I can improve on the restaurant,” he said. “ I want to donate money I earn to schools so that they can have a better [environment]. I also see myself in the future becoming the next Gordon Ramsay.”