Thailand ‘s New Culinary Ambassador
The North American branch of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has revealed that one of America’s most popular celebrity chefs – Andy Ricker – will become the first Amazing Thailand Culinary ambassador. Ricker is the owner of the Pok Pok chain of restaurants and the author of Thai cook books. As a result, the TAT believed he was a natural fit for this role to promote tourism in Thailand through the nation’s exquisite culinary culture.
“As a long time student of Thai cuisine and, by extension, Thai culture in general, it is a great honour for me to be named ambassador,” says Ricker. “I hope that in this role I will be able to share my love for Thailand and its incredibly varied regional cuisine with the US.” The work of the acclaimed chef has been acknowledged by both the James Beard Foundation and the Michelin Guide. He has also appeared in numerous television shows, including CNN’s Parts Unknown, which focussed on Ricker’s culinary origins.
In his new role, Chef Ricker will help the TAT with a variety of marketing and publicity events throughout 2017. The first scheme will see Ricker take influential individuals from the US over to Thailand on a tasting tour to sample dishes that are lesser-known in Thailand’s incredible culinary repertoire. The trip will be filmed for the TAT’s online series, Thai-licious. Several special guests have also been planned for future episodes.
“For many years, TAT has recognised individuals within the hospitality industry who contribute to the promotion of Thailand’s tourism with the Friends of Thailand Award,” says Srimilar Waraphaskul, director of TAT’s New York office. “This year we have introduced our first culinary brand ambassador to take on this award. We hope that Andy’s genuine passion for Thai food culture will inspire more US travellers to visit and experience the authenticity of Thai cuisine first hand.”
Thailand’s food culture is both vast and varied. From high-end, Michelin-star eateries to roadside stalls and family-run cafes, visitors have the chance to sample a range of fresh Thai cuisine. Those staying in private villas can also hire the services of professional Thai chefs to create their favourite Thai dishes from locally-sourced produce.
“Thailand is second to none when it comes to culinary adventures,” says Kittipong Prapattong, director of the TAT’s Los Angeles office. “As TAT embraces the trend of culinary travel, Chef Andy’s continuing efforts to advocate authentic Thai cuisine in the US aligns perfectly with TAT’s strategies to promote experimental travel to lesser-known destinations in Thailand in 2017.”