2018 Talent

Lakana Sopajan-Trubiana

Chef & Co-Owner, DEE DEE - Northern Thai Street Food

Lakana was born to a family of farmers and raised in Thailand’s northern countryside known as Isaan. From an early age, around five or six years old, she helped her family with the planting of vegetables, herbs and rice they would sell at her village’s local market. She would wake before sunrise, spending the early morning hours helping her mother and great-grandmother prepare the meals to feed the family, co-workers and to sell at her school’s market before going to class. After school she spent the evening hours working in the rice fields harvesting her family’s farm. When finished with the harvest, Lakana, along with the rest of her family, would prepare the evening’s meal.

Growing up in the rural Thai country side, with next to nothing to her name, meant everything was done by hand, no stove tops, no refrigeration, no freezers… There was no money for grocery stores nor the luxuries we take for granted in modern life. Everything was provided daily by what her and her family grew or tended to, from the garden to the chicken coop. Cooking, was done over fire, a pit built on the ground with wood from the nearby forest. It was from this young age she learned the labor and joy of sharing a warm meal with family and friends. A time to sit, relax and enjoy with those closest to you.

Through generations of experience Lakana learned the joys of cooking. The preparation of a meal was an intensive and time consuming process that is lost on most of us with today’s hectic and busy schedules. However, it is from these experiences that her passion for cooking was born… and now she wants to share her traditions, passed on through the generations, with you, your family and friends.