Kalaya adds art and charity to the menu
Taste meets flowers in a local in South Philly.
Some may have noticed the colorful street as they passed the Kalaya Thai Kitchen in Bella Vista, which is next to Sarcone’s Bakery and the ever-popular Ralphs Italian Restaurant. Not only is this project the impact of switching to outdoor dining during the pandemic, it is also the start of an entirely new arts initiative for the establishment.
Recently, Kalaya Thai Kitchen added several levels of fine art to its dining experience, with chef and owner Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon tapping Philadelphia-based artist Tiff Urquhart to paint the restaurant’s street structures with murals of tropical flowers outside and some pieces decorate inside. This marks the beginning of Kalaya’s very first series of exhibitions, “Artist in Residence”.
“When I launched Kalaya in April 2019, I wanted to make it a beautiful place full of joy and love,” Suntaranon said in a statement. “I want Kalaya to be welcoming and warm, even for people who just pass by on a nice night. I asked Tiffany to paint the structures because her work is beautiful. Her art reminds her of her time in Thailand and it is a perfect way to start this new initiative that we have been very happy to introduce over the past few months. “
According to the publication, Urquhart, whose inspiration comes from landscapes and nature, is a contemporary artist who has practiced the visual arts since childhood. With more than 20 years of experience, her accomplishments include hundreds of commissioned works, multi-part projects, and murals. Her corporate projects include a collaboration with the Philadelphia 76ers and a window display for West Elm, a national interior design company based on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. Urquhart has written and illustrated three children’s books and is actively developing concepts for other books.
“With the recent focus on murals for local businesses in the greater Philadelphia area, I look forward to working on additional projects that showcase public and accessible art,” she said.
This new initiative has one goal: to give local artists a platform. All of the artwork on the wall is for sale, with prices and artists listed next to each piece – all Philadelphians have to do is go to the restaurant and get ready to feast with their eyes and taste buds.
Kalaya‘s second Artist in Residence series will feature local artist Dori Desautel Broudy in November.
Cooking for a good cause
Kalaya was also busy with other local service outside the restaurant walls. Local food delivery company Home Appétit recently partnered with Kalaya to raise funds for the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in Jefferson, and they had two of the restaurant’s signature dishes. Home Appétit began in 2014 after founder Lee Wallach pursued his career as a chef for a number of clients, including a group at Penn Medicine, from his Center City apartment.
Eventually, the entrepreneur launched a website that enabled him to collect a payment, and with his financial success, the young entrepreneur was able to finance the entire new operation himself. Home Appétit now delivers on a weekly weekly basis without a subscription to Philadelphia, South Jersey, Delaware and the surrounding suburbs including cities in Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware and Chester Counties.
When COVID-19 hit, the need for such a service boomed and with it the need for a nonprofit initiative. According to a press release, a portion of the proceeds from all dishes ordered last week were donated by Chef Nok to the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in Jefferson. This collaboration is part of an ongoing charity initiative in which Home Appétit supports a local chef and organization of their choice. To date, they have donated nearly $ 10,000 to various organizations through the program. Previous participants include: Nick Elmi, Jim and Kristina Burke and Dionicio Jimenez. Further collaborations will also follow.
“I’m a huge fan of the company’s mission, especially considering they give back to the community in so many ways. Lee has allowed me to choose a charity that is personally close to me and it means a lot to me to provide people with meals while helping the cancer research center, ”Suntaranon said in a statement.
The two dishes featured included Suntaranon’s Nua Phad King (beef braised in coconut milk with ginger, onions, and spring onions) and Tom Kha Gai (lemongrass soup with chicken, galangal, and mushrooms). But to see more creations from Suntaranon a visit to Kalaya is required.
On the menu both in the Market (922 p. 9th St., filled with prepared dishes and ingredients to take away and to take away or for cooking at home) or in the kitchen (764 p. 9th St., available for indoor and outdoor dining Outdoor area), guests can enjoy traditional and individual creations from a selection of curries, wok favorites, apps, salads and much more.
For more information on Kalaya Thai Kitchen, visit kalaya.net