Soi 71: Home Roots

David's mother Daeng Khiewtip from Sam Ngao in Tak Province supported her family with her mastery in northern Thai cuisine. As a young woman, she operated a small food stand outside the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok and sold papaya salad and grilled chicken skewers to students and faculty.

In 1980, Howard William Cook came around for lunch and got more than he bargained for. Day after day, Howard would visit Daeng's food stand and eventually they fell in love. Daeng's cooking entranced him, and her recipes remain as family heirlooms to be passed down to future generation of lovers.

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In 1986, Daeng and Howard celebrated the birth of David Raymond-Kwan Cook. The growing family lived in a beautiful home on the side street Soi 71 in Bangkok, the namesake for David's restaurant now.

In 1991, with Howard's health ailing, the family moved back to eastern Washington to be closer to his brother. Just a few years later, Howard passed away, survived by wife Daeng, sons David and Tom, and many extended family members.

Raised by his widowed immigrant mother, David quickly had to learn adult life lessons in order to help keep his family's finances afloat. For many years, growing up biracial in a Thai-American household was challenging for David. Throughout these tough years, learning his family's Thai recipes was an important way that David connected with his heritage and developed a sense of identity.