Summer 2005

Feature Story

Your Haas Network

Kasma Loha-unchit, MBA 75
Founder, Thai Food and Travel
Oakland, Calif.

Once Kasma Loha-unchit made up her mind to go into cooking as a profession, she put her marketing background from business school to work to diversify her product mix — not only does she offer cooking classes, but she now leads tours to her native Thailand and has written two successful cookbooks.

Loha-unchit is the founder of Thai Food and Travel, a cooking school and tour company she's run since 1985. For much of the year she teaches classes in Thai cooking and from November through February leads intensive trips to her native Thailand. Her books — It Rains Fishes: Legends, Traditions, and the Joys of Thai Cooking (which won the Julia Child Cookbook Award in the international category in 1995) and Dancing Shrimp: Favorite Thai Recipes for Seafood — are more than just cookbooks. "My books tell a story about the culture and colors of Thailand." She is currently working on a third book on Thai street food.

A resident of Oakland, Calif., Kasma took the long way around to her current career, first working in the corporate world as a marketing analyst for Fireman's Fund. When the insurer downsized, she took a buyout in 1981 and decided to pursue the cooking she loved as a girl growing up in Thailand.

"I have always cooked. Even when I was an undergraduate at Arizona State, I gave parties in my room, cooking on a little burner," Loha-unchit said. "One of the main things I learned at Haas was that product is most important. You can't market a product you don't believe in."

Kasma Loha-unchit, MBA 75

Kasma Loha-unchit, MBA 75 Founder, Thai Food and Travel
Oakland, Calif.