'I instantly felt at home'

'I instantly felt at home'

When one walks up to Naphaphak Prompaksa, a young  wide-eyed expatriate from Isan, Thailand, it's her bright and wide smile that catches one's attention first.  Known fondly as Chef Tam, she has been happily working with Rim Naam, The Oberoi, in the city for the last few years, and proudly calls Bengaluru her second home.

Her first stint with India was a chef's job with the Royal Thai Consulate-General in Mumbai,  from 2005 till 2012. From there she moved to Qatar, Doha and later Maldives, before she moved to Bengaluru. Having a deep passion for cooking,  Naphaphak was really happy to present her country's flavours to the world. "I wanted to be an ambassador for Thai cuisine and I am trying that in my own humble way," she says.

Since India wasn't an unfamiliar territory to her, she was really excited to come and explore Bengaluru. "During my stay  in Mumbai, I heard that Bengaluru was a fantastic place. Compared to the other places I've worked in, the weather is one of the biggest strong points of the place.  Also, everyone feels safe and comfortable here," she says.

The quality of life  was another  advantage to the place. "Though Mumbai has it's own charm, the cleaner air here was a blessing. The air and noise pollution level in Mumbai can be quite tiresome at times," she adds.  

It's not only these things that  Naphaphak likes about Bengaluru. "There are so many similarities in the culture. Be it respecting elders, greeting people with warmth or the sense of hospitality that can be seen, we share a lot of things. I instantly felt at home," she says.

A pleasant workplace ambience and the warm conversations with people only adds to the appeal of the place. "People treat each other with respect. I spend most of my time at the hotel and my team has always made me feel at  comfortable here,"
she says.

The young chef loves answering questions of curious people with whom she interacts.

"Most people want to know which province I am from and as they conversation progresses, they share their own experiences with Thai food or the place. This has led to many endearing  cultural exchanges," she says with a smile.

Naphaphak believes that moving to Bengaluru was a good decision for career and personal growth.

Being a Buddhist by nature, she loves the fact that there is a strong sense of spirituality  here. "There is a balance of traditions and modernity here. I love visiting  the temples here," she says.

Her passion for cooking came  because of her strong love for her mother's cooking.

"There is no one in the world who can cook like her and I wanted to prepare and serve food exactly like she does, with a lot of love and flavour, for people across the world," she says.

Having been in India for a while, she has explored a lot of Indian cuisine. "I have had a lot of Indian dishes like 'biryani', 'tikka', 'kebab', 'pulav', 'naan' and 'masala dosa' and I love them.  Both our cuisines use a lot of spices but the treatment is different," she says.

Naphaphak hasn't explored a lot of places but has visited Mysuru and Nandi Hills and hopes to explore more of the state as time passes. She also loves exploring culinary places and shopping.

"I love visiting cafes and restaurants like 'Hae Kum Gang' and 'Oko'.  To shop, I visit 1 MG mall while on my off day, I usually head to a spa on Brigade Road," she says.

She appreciates  the warmth and the love that people from everywhere who have settled in the city have extended to her.

"Ever since I started living here, I have felt very confident about myself as a person and as a professional. The city is my comfort zone. I would love to stay on for as long as I can," she says.    

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