“Feeding souls” has always been the mission of Asian Mint, Phinyawatana said, and that does not stop just because people are sheltering in place, she added.
“We like to eat fresh, hot food off the wok, and we know that’s one of the things people are missing because they can’t come and eat in the [restaurant],” she said.
Each Chef Mint from Home meal kit comes with a recipe card and premeasured, fresh ingredients to make vegetable dumplings, pad thai, tom yum soup and jasmine rice. The three-course meal feeds four people and takes 30-45 minutes to prepare, Phinyawatana said. The kits can be delivered or picked up curbside at one on Asian Mint's locations.
“The goal was to get people cooking at home, building a community and having something to bond over,” she said.
So far, the program has been well-received by the community. On the program’s March 20 launch date, the team sold 47 kits, more than doubling their expected sales. Since then, they have sold an average of 15 kits per day, Phinyawatana said. This is especially critical during a time when daily revenue is down by 40-50%, she added.
“It’s so feeding for me to see them cook pad thai, and it looks like my pad thai,” she said. “It’s gone beyond meeting its purpose of feeding souls.”
The meal kits also have the added benefit of providing staff with more hours.
“They are very grateful,” she said. “They know other restaurants are closing down because they haven’t been as creative or moving fast enough.”
Phinyawatana said she plans to launch a new meal kit during the second week of April that will include ingredients to make summer rolls, red curry and pad kee mao woon sen. In the meantime, she said she hopes people will support these efforts so that Asian Mint can continue to feed the community and keep its workers employed.
“What we are selling every day is covering payroll and food costs,” she said. “We take care of our people, we take care of our community, and I believe everything else will sort itself out.”
Interested customers can order kits here. A portion of the proceeds will go toward a nonprofit organization that feeds children, Phinyawatana said.