What pushes me to keep doing what I'm doing is my love of food and then the passion of sharing."
At the age of five, Dish’n Dames feature Jam Sanitchat had already begun her culinary journey. Helping her grandmother and mother cook over a wood-burning stove in her grandmother’s kitchen in the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand, she was surrounded by the smells, sounds, and tastes of food made with love. It was there that she learned about the deep connection between food and culture. It was there that her own passion for cooking was cultivated.
When Jam moved to the United States to pursue a degree at the University of Texas, she felt that same connection of food and culture in Austin. She fell in love with the city, the local food vibe, and the people, leaving her no choice but to feed the community and share the food she grew up cooking.
She began her first business, Thai Cooking with Jam, and helped teach the techniques and combinations of Thai cuisine to people in their own kitchens. She then began hosting cooking classes in her own kitchen. To further promote her business, Jam opened a stand at a local farmers’ market which led to building further connections within the food community in Austin, leading her to make the decision to only use local produce and meats to cook for her classes and to use at Thai Fresh, the beloved staple of the locals owned by Jam and her husband, Bruce Barnes.
Located in South Austin, this gluten-free bakery, coffeehouse, vegan ice cream shop, and cornerstone of Austin Thai cuisine is also where Jam continues to teach the now thousands of people who have attended her cooking classes. Her passion is to empower others by helping build confidence in people so they can create dishes to share with their own friends and family, celebrating their connections through food.
It is this passion and love of community that makes Jam and Thai Fresh gems of Austin.