In the latest instalment of our feature showcasing unique local food producers, Hua Hin Today caught up with Sky from Sky’s Fresh Pasta.
What began as a hobby has quickly grown into a thriving business, with Sky now supplying her homemade fresh pasta to hotels and restaurants in Hua Hin and Bangkok, as well as to customers online.
Sky discusses her passion for cooking and her interesting past volunteering at the Royal Thai Embassy in Qatar.
What’s your backstory and how did you end up in Hua Hin?
I used to live in Qatar where I worked for 10 years as a volunteer at the Royal Thai Embassy teaching Thai language classes to children and also teaching Thai classical dance lessons to both adults and children. I would also cook for special events hosted by the Thai ambassadors as well as for other Embassy dining events where any profits made would be donated to charities.
My husband’s mother is Italian and his father is Bahraini. They met in London but I met my husband in Qatar. When we first dated, he did not believe me that I could make fresh pasta and pasta sauces. He said – only Italians know how to make proper fresh pasta!!
Later he discovered that my Italian cooking and my fresh pasta was much better than his Italian cooking. 😃
I learned to perfect my pasta and sauces from researching and trial and error and I also learned from my husband’s mother who was a major producer of fresh pasta in Bahrain. She would supply fresh pasta to 5-star hotels and airlines that would take off from Bahrain International Airport. She was also owner and chef of one of the first Italian restaurants to open in Bahrain that she ran for over 25 years.
How/why did you come up with the idea of Sky’s Fresh Pasta?
I have always had a love for cooking and working with all types of food. After some time living in Hua Hin, I started making large batches of fresh pasta and sauces to occupy my time and would give it away to my neighbours and friends. They asked where they could buy my pasta, so then I decided to legally set up my business and now I supply hotels, restaurants and pasta lovers in Hua Hin and Bangkok.
I really love doing what I do because making my fresh pasta and sauces is a relaxing process for me. Sometimes I might get an urgent last-minute request from a restaurant which means I would need to wake up at 3am to prepare but I still enjoy it because it is quiet and calming.
After starting Sky’s Fresh Pasta, what are some of the things you have learnt, both positive and negative?
My main challenges at the beginning were trying to find ingredients. Fresh Italian basil and rosemary for example is not always easy to find so I started to grow them in my garden and recently, 00 flour and semolina prices and other ingredients have started to become more expensive.
But these challenges make you more creative and many times I experiment with fresh Thai ingredients that are often not abundantly available in other countries but available in Thailand. For example, I use blue pea flower to make blue Fettuccine and I prepare yellow Ravioli (using pumpkin for its yellow colour and additional taste) with chicken Panang filling making it an Italian-Thai fusion dish.
What comes to your mind when you think of pasta?
The first thing that comes to mind is the first time I tasted real fresh pasta. I was visiting my sister in Switzerland over 15 years ago and I remember eating fresh Fettuccine pasta with a butter based sauce, mushrooms and Parmigiano Reggiano. I was high up on a mountain overlooking a spectacular view. When I first tried it, I was pleasantly surprised with its velvet delicate bite and how the pasta “married” with the sauce which normal pasta often does not. I really loved my first fresh pasta experience and I wondered how it would taste if I combined it using Thai ingredients.
One of the things most people don’t realize is authentic fresh pasta requires patience and time to make. Kneading the pasta dough and selecting fresh ingredients for fillings and cutting the pasta all requires care. And when cooked, fresh pasta combines even better with the sauce giving it a superior taste. Real fresh pasta maintains the amino acids, nutrients and vitamins making it more nutritious and tastier for you.
What have been some of your most popular products/dishes?
While I supply restaurants with large portions of cooked Lasagne, I recently started offering my fresh cooked Lasagne in smaller portions for individual customers too. For my sauces; Bolognese, Arrabbiata, Pesto and Marinara are all popular and takes me over 5 hours to prepare and my Bacon and Mushroom Ravioli and Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli are also popular along with my green Fettuccine where I use spinach giving its green colour and additional taste.
You recently took part in the Culinary Special event, how was that?
I loved it! One of the things I enjoy about living in Hua Hin is the community spirit here. I find myself collaborating with other food suppliers rather than directly competing with each other. In fact we all help each other out with ideas. An example is that I supply Salmon House 102 with my Ravioli and use their salmon filling. And at the second Jacky’s Garden event, Jacky selected to cook my fresh spaghetti and combine it with caviar from The Sturgeon Farm.
How can people find out more about Sky’s Fresh Pasta?
I can be reached by phone or WhatsApp on 092 518 8002 and on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SkysPasta