My name is Naphasorn, but you can call me On, owner and chef of Thai House Napa Valley. My love of food and cooking began even before I was tall enough to peer down into a pan of sizzling garlic. As mealtime approached, I could always be found in our breezy outdoor kitchen tripping over the heels of my mom, aunts, grandmother, and even my dad. Like everywhere in those days all our ingredients were either sourced from the local market via the surrounding countryside, rivers, and streams or if I was at my grandparents’ house, from the family farm located in the Isaan region of North-Eastern Thailand, closest to Laos. As the oldest daughter, with increasingly busy parents and two younger siblings, I soon found myself planning, preparing, and cooking many meals not only for my siblings and I but also for my parents.
While my academic interests always lay in math and science, it was the cooking classes we took from kindergarten through high school that truly captured my interest and imagination. I couldn’t get enough. While university took me on a more traditional route towards accounting. I found that the only thing that really satisfied me and made my senses come alive and made me truly happy was being in a kitchen and learning about and exploring this new extension of myself that I had discovered. And so, I cooked everywhere I could. It was during this time that I continued my food education as well by taking Thai and international food cooking courses through the Thai government’s small business programs. While managing a small boutique bed and breakfast in Chiangmai, I proudly prepared and served home cooked meals and taught hands-on Thai cooking classes for customers as well.
Since moving to the United States, I have been returning to Thailand for several months each year which keeps me in touch with my culinary heart and soul. Bouncing around between Bangkok, Phetchabun, and Chiang Mai in northern Thailand I’m lucky enough to indulge in a lot of it. When I’m there I not only love cooking for my family, but I also savor revisiting the tastes and restaurants of my youth in my home town and province, and also trying new restaurants and dishes every chance I get wherever we travel -- from the smallest of local roadside restaurants to the larger more famous venues as well. The regional and cultural variety of foods, fusions, dishes, and recipes is amazing. Thailand is, if nothing else, a wonderful cacophony of food. During my most recent pre COVID trip I focused on taking classes at both small, intimate home-style cooking schools and larger schools (hoping to miss nothing) that focus as well on the unique Northern Lanna style of Thai cooking, which is so delicious.
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