Saengthong Douangdara was born in a refugee camp based in Thailand where his parents fled Laos after the Vietnam War. His family settled in Wisconsin. Growing up in the Midwest, he developed his love for Lao cuisine from his mom’s home cooked food. He helped his mom in the kitchen while observing her traditional Lao cooking techniques. He began cooking for others when he attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison where people noticed his passion for sharing his culture and history through food. His drive to explore more food adventures brought him to Hawaii where he attended graduate school at UH Hilo, and he gained extensive knowledge and techniques rooted in Hawaii.
With over 10 years of cooking experience, he pursued his passion in teaching people how to cook. While exploring the world, he gained an appreciation and love in specializing in Korean fermentation, Hawaiian food, and Lao food. He has cooked and taught at UCLA, UC Irvine, Whole Foods, and celebrity events. His drive to connect with people through food brought him to Los Angeles where he teaches interactive and fun cooking classes that go into the history, culture, and science of several cuisines around the world.