Kalaya adds art and charity to the menu

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Flavor meets floral at a South Philly restaurant.

Some may have noticed the colorful street as they passed Kalaya Thai Kitchen in Bella Vista, tucked away next to Sarcone Bakery and the ever popular Italian restaurant Ralphs. This project is not only the effects of the shift to eating out during the pandemic, it is also the launch of a whole new artistic initiative for the establishment.

Recently, Kalaya Thai Kitchen has added several layers of fine art to its dining experience, with chef and owner Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon patting Philly-based artist Tiff Urquhart to adorn the restaurant’s street structures with murals depicting tropical flowers on the outside, and a few pieces on the inside. This marks the start of Kalaya’s very first “Artist in Residence” series of exhibitions.

Provided

“When I launched Kalaya in April 2019, I wanted to make it a beautiful space filled with joy and love,” Suntaranon said in a statement. “I want Kalaya to be welcoming and warm, even to passers-by on a beautiful night. I asked Tiffany to paint the structures because her work is beautiful. His art reminds him of his time in Thailand, and it’s a perfect way to launch this new initiative that we have been very happy to unveil over the past few months.

According to the release, Urquhart, whose inspiration is drawn from landscapes and the natural world, is a contemporary artist who has practiced in the visual arts since childhood. With over 20 years of experience, his achievements include hundreds of commissioned pieces, multi-room projects and murals. His business plans include a collaboration with the Philadelphia 76ers and a gallery showcase for West Elm, a national home decor company located on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. Urquhart has written and illustrated three children’s books and is also actively developing concepts for other books.

“With a recent focus on murals for local businesses in the greater Philadelphia area, I look forward to working on other projects that feature public and accessible art,” she said. .

This new initiative has one goal: to provide a platform for local artists. All the art on the wall will be for sale, with the prices and artists listed next to each piece.

KalayaThe second artist-in-residence series will feature local artist Dori Desautel Broudy in November.

Cooking for a Cause

Kalaya has also been busy with other local service outside the restaurant walls. Local meal delivery service Home Appétit recently partnered with Kalaya to raise funds for the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in Jefferson, and it featured two of the restaurant’s signature dishes. Home Appetite began in 2014 after founder Lee Wallach made a career out of cooking for a range of clients, including a group of Penn Medicine in his downtown apartment.

Eventually, the entrepreneur launched a website that allowed him to collect a payment, and thanks to his financial success, the young entrepreneur was able to finance the whole new operation on his own. Home Appétit now ships every Monday on a weekly basis, without a subscription, to Philadelphia, South Jersey, Delaware and surrounding suburbs, including the county towns of Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware and Chester.

When COVID-19 hit, the need for a service like this exploded, as did the need for charity. A portion of the proceeds from all of Chef Nok’s dishes ordered last week was donated to the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in Jefferson, a statement said. This collaboration is part of an ongoing charity initiative in which Home Appétit supports a local chef and his organization of choice. To date, they have donated nearly $ 10,000 to various organizations as part of the program. Former participants include: Nick Elmi, Jim and Kristina Burke and Dionicio Jimenez. Other collaborations will also come.

Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon and Lee WallachMike prince

“I’m a huge fan of the company’s mission, especially as they give back to the community in so many ways. Lee allowed me to choose a charity that is personally close to me, and it means a lot to me to be able to provide meals to people while helping the cancer research center, ”Suntaranon said in a statement.

The two dishes featured included Suntaranon’s Nua Phad King (braised beef in coconut milk with ginger, onion and scallions) and Tom Kha Gai (lemongrass soup with chicken, galangal and mushrooms). But to discover more of Suntaranon’s creations, it will take a visit to Kalaya.

On the menu both at The Market (922 S. 9th St., stocked with ready meals and ingredients to take away or cook at home) or at the Kitchen (764 S. 9th St., available for dining at the indoors and outdoors), diners can immerse themselves in traditional and personalized creations ranging from a selection of curries, wok favorites, applications, salads and more.

For more information on Kalaya Thai Kitchen, visit kalaya.net

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