Category: Arts:Food

Tamper Tantrum Audio version of our coffee video podcast

February 23, 2018

TTSF: “Subverting Expectations: Lessons from Khin Kao” | Pim Techamuanvivit, Khin Kao

As with every speaker-focussed Tamper Tantrum event, we always try to include a speaker from outside of coffee who would be able to provide insights relatable to our industry. San Francisco’s interesting and unique culture provided us with lots of potential options, but our host partners (Wrecking Ball Coffee) presented us with a unique and exciting opportunity through their work: Chef-Owner of the Michelin-starred Khin Kao, Pim Techamuanvivit.

Following the lead from Khin Kao in how it subverts expectations, we chose instead to have our hosts, Katie Carguilo and Stephen Leighton, interview Pim to learn more about how her approach to using ingredients, building flavour combinations, and giving good service could have a positive impact on specialty.  

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Pim grew up in Bangkok, was shipped off to study in other places, and somehow found herself living and loving it in the San Francisco Bay Area. She quit her Silicon Valley job in 2005 to pursue a career in food: the writing, reporting, and basically anything interesting thereof that comes her way. Her recipes, writings, and photographs have since appeared in the New York Times, Food & Wine Magazine, Bon Appétit magazine, and more.

She’s also moonlighted as a judge on Iron Chef America, been profiled on Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie, Food(ography), and cooked Pad Thai on the Martha Stewart Show, for Martha, natch.

Pim opened her first restaurant, Kin Khao Thai Eatery, in March 2014. In September of that year, Kin Khao was included in 50 Best New Restaurants list by Bon Appetit. In 2015, it was ranked #6 in 25 Outstanding Restaurants 2015 by G.Q. Magazine. The Michelin Guide awarded Kin Khao 1 Michelin Star in 2016 and again in 2017.

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February 9, 2018

TTSF: “From Rags to Riches?” | Alejandro Martinez, Finca Argentina

One of the things we really enjoyed about the podcast in 2017 was the “From the Field” segment, shared by Alejandro Martinez from Finca Argentina in El Salvador. Every time we’d have an event, we’d ask ourselves: is there a way to get Ale here as a speaker?

Finally, the stars aligned and we were able to have Ale join us, in person, on stage in San Francisco. Here, Alejandro provides a personal insight into one of the issues raised in Hanna’s talk earlier that morning: coffee farming profitability. In sharing his own story, Ale calls attention to the challenges and opportunities to farmers working within the specialty model, offering some actionable advice to anyone looking to ensure the future of quality specialty coffee.

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Alejandro Martinez doesn’t have the usual “coffee producer” backstory: once a VP of Investment Banking in the Technology Mergers and Acquisitions Group of Bank of America Securities (now Bank of America Merrill Lynch), Alejandro began his career in specialty coffee in 2008 managing a 35 hectare farm originally acquired in 1967 by his grandfather, Luis Guillermo. Today, he manages a coffee estate of approximately 70 hectares, working remotely from Ahuachapan in El Salvador with the financial planning and analysis team of a cybersecurity tech company to keep the farms afloat as he builds initiatives to secure the future of the land and its workers.

Alejandro holds an MBA from Tuck Business School at Dartmouth and a BS in Business Administration from Universidad Fidelitas in Costa Rica, but it doesn’t stop him from talking about the biodynamic gnomes.

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