June 20, 2008

Thai Desserts Deserve a Larger Audience

By Krissana Parnsoonthorn, Bangkok Post, Thailand

Jun. 19--Thailand should promote its desserts and bakeries more to support its bid to become the Kitchen of the World, according to the Pastry Club, a group of pastry, cake and bakery lovers.

"We have mainly promoted agricultural and food-processing products but desserts were left behind when Thailand began promoting itself as the Kitchen of the World. In fact, Thais can develop fine desserts, cakes and bakeries to serve the world as well," said A.P. Nikhil, a Singapore entrepreneur, who founded the Pastry Club two months ago.

Last year, Thailand exported foods worth 15.6 billion baht or 10 percent of the country's total export revenues. Snacks, premixes and finished desserts accounted only 0.3 percent of the total food exports.

The global dessert market, says the club's founder, is very big and Thailand has a lot of potential to export its desserts, cakes and bakeries in the future.

"Thailand should follow the success story of Japan, which is now the biggest exporter of cake products ranging from ready-to-eat to premixes. Japanese cakes do very well in the US and Europe," said Mr Nikhil, who also owns food consultancy and jewellery businesses in Singapore and Thailand.

Thai chefs should study food techniques and innovations from international chefs to improve their dessert-making standards for export purposes, he said. Currently, the country has almost all the ingredients to make quality cakes and desserts.

The Pastry Club now has 17,000 members who have signed up to exchange ideas and cooking tips. The club is also in talks with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to co-organise special dessert and cooking classes for those who are interested in learning and developing more skills.

Apart from this, the club plans to arrange a number of food tours for foreign tourists to try the best dessert choices in Bangkok.

Mr Nikhil said he planned to open Pastry Club outlets in Dubai, Sydney and Singapore soon and bring the best bakery products made by hotels in Thailand to sell in those markets.


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