Wars and conflicts are also causes of hungriness and food insecurity as same as hungriness and food insecurity may cause serious conflicts leading to wars. In our way of life, there are many times that we have some problems with our lovers and family members or friends and those problems are often ended at the dining tables when we eat together and exchange our opinions together. We ask each other about feeling with each other and share food together. Luukrieang Group consists of juveniles who are affected by insurgency in southern border provinces therefore they are confident and believe that food is able to be the mediator to build understanding and diversity of food culture in local areas increasingly.
Back to 2019, Patlee Toder, Arafah Buerangae, Iskanda Goono, and Tanmisi Anansai, the juveniles from Luukrieang Group, intended to transform conflicts into peace therefore they formed a team under the name of Local Chef’s to Peace Project: From Dining Table to Peace in order to participate in Youth Co:Lab 2019 under United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The question of this project is “How can we design multicultural society which everyone can live together?” Consequently, they chose food as the small beginning of peace building because they believe that food will be the beginning of interaction and understanding among cultures. In local areas, there are also some problems on food culture that can cause separation in living of local people.
Therefore, they raised the issue on diversity of food culture from various religions and gathered them on the same plate. They selected local deliciousness to build peace for “Thai-Buddhist, Muslim, and Thai-Chinese” in the southern border. They chose a dessert dish called “Azuro” obtained from mixing various kinds of food before blending them well with the texture of Thai pudding. Azuro blending tradition is started from the announcement of the host to invite villagers to blend Azuro together. On the date of appointment, villages will bring ingredients to share together and blend Azuro together leading to unity of local people when people from every religion can eat together without any worry. Although food may not be able to eliminate conflicts completely, presented food will connect people from various areas to live together and discuss to share their knowledge. Finally, there may be some understanding occurred. Certainly, they could win the first prize in national award with the prize of 100,000 baht.
Searching and maintaining value of local food that is incubated by the way of life of community through learning cooking with professional chefs in southern border areas and other areas under “Development of Youth in Ban Ba Ngoi Si Nae to Chef’s Table” Project or Kampong Kitchen to Chef’s Table of Association of Youth and Children for Pace of Southern Border (Luukrieang Group) has been supported by Southern Border Provinces Administration Center (SBPAC) under Small Peaceful Space Support Project of civil, private, and government network with the hope that participation process in building peaceful spaces of this project will be another tool for building occupation security for children and youth. Seniors of Luukrieang Group who are successful in regional level also pass on their experiences to their juniors in their areas.
Kampong Kitchen to Chef’s Table is the project with the aim to develop 18 children and youth in difficult situations from the areas of Ban Ba Ngoi Si Nae, Yaha District, Yala Province, with interest on cooking to learn on cooking, ingredients management, cleanliness, services, a quality restaurant management. The duration of training is 3 months started from the introduction process of local ingredients from local menus and ingredients that they are familiar including La Sae, Roti Baka, duck soup, Kor Lae chicken, and Massaman curry, and familiar ingredients including local vegetables, torch ginger, bitter beans, jaggery (palm sugar), cultivated banana, Saba, local jasmine rice, Budu water or famous salted threadfin fish. These ingredients will be created as 10 dishes for serving on chef’s table minimally. After completing this project, these 18 juveniles will present special meals from their community to entrepreneurs, related agencies, or anyone interested to taste their dishes.
Chef’s Table activity was held for 3 occasions during January 2021 in Ba Ngoi Si Nae Community making the target group as local leaders, related units, and representatives of various groups to have some meals together and give their feedbacks. The second occasion was held by inviting administrators of SBPAC, representatives of entrepreneurs, and civil society organizations to dine together and encourage each other. The third occasion was held by inviting over 45 entrepreneurs and businessmen to dine together, discuss, and give feedbacks for further development. Created dishes of this activity are salad with native vegetables served with threadfin fish salad dressing, Roti Baka Ba Ngoi Si Nae served with Massaman curry with chicken, Lasae, crab curry with betel leaves, duck soup, and roasted prawn with shrimp paste sauce. Moreover, they also create some beverage menus including torch ginger punch, and jiggery palm Italian soda. Dessert dishes are Saba in coconut milk and roasted Saba with caramel sauce. These dishes are created from local ingredients indicating local uniqueness. After this activity, children also develop their dishes to generate income and develop as more efficient community kitchen.