The Mindful Chef
Self-Description - passionate, vulnerable
Her Inner Light - creative energy that comes both from within and from a higher power
Her message to women everywhere - “It is in our nature as women to give, but we forget about ourselves. It doesn’t do anybody any good. If you’re passionate about something, you want to do something you love, you may need to be selfish. If you believe you have something to give then give to yourself first. If you need help, ask for help.”
Born and raised in Thailand, Komoot Ngaojutha came to the US in search of more to life. She started as a graduate student in interior architecture and launched a successful career in interior design. But Komoot’s passion had long been in food. Since she was a little girl, she loved to eat, to cook, to be around food. "I used food for a lot of things to the point that I ate emotionally. Even though I dreamed about a career in food, I didn’t dare to pursue it.”
In 2009 she was an executive at a design firm, a position she enjoyed, and she imagined growing with the company for a long time. After twenty years in the design world, she felt she had her life figured out. "I was proud of what I’d accomplished, for a Thai woman to have gone so far in the design business in America.” Then one day before her birthday, everything shifted. The economic decline led to the collapse of the company, and Komoot was let go. She lost her financial security, but more significantly, she lost her identity.
Amidst the uncertainty and loss she felt that day, Komoot recalls a vivid moment of clarity. "Since this happened the day before my birthday, I said to myself this has to be a gift.” In that instant she reframed the change as an opportunity to start fresh.
During the months that followed Komoot asked herself, “What do I need to learn from this?” Seeking clarity, she decluttered her life, and all around she found signs of her long-time love affair with food. In the margin of one book, she found a note she’d written to herself years ago, “Go to culinary school.” This message sent a jolt through her system. She could no longer avoid facing her greatest fear that was also her truest desire. She researched different schools and quickly realized that she didn’t want to cook in the classical methods, which emphasizing taste leaned heavily on creams and sugars. Humbled by her own experience with emotional eating that had led to illness, she set out to approach cooking differently. She would redefine food as a healthy force in her life. “I had my awakening: My path to healing was by healing others through healthy cooking."
Komoot trained at Bauman College, a pioneer in holistic nutrition and culinary arts. She became a certified therapeutic chef and launched The Mindful Feast (http://themindfulfeast.com), a soulful company offering personal chef services. SOUL-ful — seasonal, organic, unprocessed and local — is the marrow of Komoot's fare. “My speciality is what I call empowering treats with loving kindness. Healing medicinal nutrients from different cultures and flavors around the world made in a mindful manner that expresses loving kindness and respect to your wellbeing and our planet.”
The Mindful Feast is shrimp with avocado, cucumber and mango salad with vermicelli served in butter lettuce cups. The Mindful Feast is ribeye steaks with kimchi and rice rolled on nori wraps. The Mindful Feast is balsamic glazed lamb chops with sautéed vegetables and mashed potatoes. The Mindful Feast is turkey meatballs and mixed vegetables miso soup with sweet potato noodles. The Mindful Feast is a delight of colors, taste, texture and smell. For the young and grown, for couples and families, Komoot’s treats feed the belly and nourish the soul.
Five years into making The Mindful Feast, Komoot cooks in homes with very different needs. Some have special diets, others are recovering from serious illnesses, several have growing children. Komoot expresses deep gratitude for each of them. "The people who are my clients are my healers. I see them taking care of themselves and their families, and I feel blessed to be playing a role in their intention for self-care. The more I do this, the more deeply I care for my clients and the more I see how I must do this with integrity. Cooking is demanding work, and I need to take care of my body so that I can stand for long hours and craft the meals. I cannot lead a double life. I can’t just preach healthy eating, cook and present healthy food and then at the end of the day, I’m doing the opposite to myself. Cooking The Mindful Feast keeps me on my healing path."
One of Komoot’s biggest fans is a small boy who clamors around her in the kitchen. He wants to know what’s making the wok sizzle, what makes for the bright colors whirling inside the blender, what will go into the salad. Pineapple or mango? Mint or sprouts? Almonds, cashews or peanuts? Then his favorite question: “Komoot, may I please try some?” And he’s never disappointed. When he savors her treat of loving kindness, it’s hard to tell who has the bigger smile. As Komoot would say, "Some of us give what we need to receive. Some of us teach what we need to learn."