Chef Keo was born just down the Mekong from here, in a small village outside of Luang Prabang. A natural born leader, she is the eldest of three. Like most Lao people, she is a serious foodie, understanding that life does indeed revolve around food. Her passion for cooking started young, learning how to make her favourite dish, knap paa. However, if there was one food she couldn’t live without, it’s the famous Lao papaya salad (she likes it with a four chilli hit).
Chef Keo joined Ock Pop Tok as a weaver in 2003. Her family has a history of weaving — she learnt from her mother, as her mother did before. When Ock Pop Tok started offering classes to visitors, the team proposed Keo prepare the food for students, as the best cook on our team. With rave food reviews, we went one step further and opened the Silk Road Café in 2005.
Similar to our east meets west (Ock Pop Tok) textiles, the idea was to take the diner on a culinary journey through the flavours found on the silk road. Chef Keo studied at a European-run training school to learn the arts of worldwide cooking. Over the years we have incorporated various dishes of French, American and Belgian managers into our menu. Now the Silk Road Café brings you a selection of cuisines from all over the world. Chef Keo’s new favourite dish on our menu is the Mexican classic Chilli Con Carne.
Chef Keo says she loves the challenge of a full restaurant: successfully juggling everything from planning and prepping to cooking and presenting. Nothing pleases her more than a full house and a sunset beer at the end of the day.
So we invite you to sit back, enjoy the view and, of course, the food from Chef Keo and her team.
Check out previous Faces of OPT features:
Faces of OPT gives you a look behind the scenes of the team at Ock Pop Tok.
Join the conversation: follow #MeetTheWeavers for more on the women and stories related to the beautiful textiles of Ock Pop Tok.