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Sawatdee Thai Cooking School

Minneapolis, MN

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Supenn Harrison

Cuisine types: Thai

Additional information: Born in Thailand near Bangkok, Supenn Harrison grew up in a big extended family and earned a degree in teaching. After college, she came to the U.S and began a marriage, family and thriving business. Sawatdee began in 1983 as the first Thai restaurant in the five-state area. Who would have thought a young, inexperienced Thai woman could take her dream of working for herself and turn it into a chain of nationally known restaurants. Supenn Harrison did just that. For nearly twenty years she has been creating authentic Thai cuisine which has set the standard for local Asian restaurants. Supenn's success can be attributed to her hard work, her demand for superior quality and service, her knowledge and understanding of her target market, her keen business sense, and her caring personality. It is these same traits that will ensure her future success in anything she pursues. The history of Supenn Harrison's success began in 1979 when she bought the Gopher Grill on Lake Street. The Gopher served hamburgers, fried eggs, meatloaf, and many other "greasy-spoon" specialties. Soon after the doors opened, Supenn realized there would not be great financial rewards in this endeavor. She threw away the fryers, installed a few woks, changed the restaurant's name, and began serving her native Thai cuisine. The Siam Café was born. There was nothing fancy about it. Just excellent food and service that delighted not only the palette but the other senses as well. Her unique combination of sweet, sour, bitter, and salty formed a loyal following of patrons.

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