And the guests keep arriving! If you haven't run across with beautiful Jaki of Papaya Verte on instagram or twitter yet, I implore you to check out her incredible creations and delicious looking posts. I'll also link you here to a brilliant video done about Jaki by 'The Gold in You' which gives insight about why we love her so much (as well as some links to the charities she supports through Papaya Verte Supper Clubs- check them out! They are deserving organizations.). Thank you for adding such a glow to this fine city, Jaki! We of Norwich are so lucky to have you as our neighbor and friend! 

And so, may we introduce to our table...

Name: Papaya Verte (named after my favourite film ‘Scent of the Green Papaya’)

What you do:  I cook Vietnamese food holding supper clubs mostly for charity, but I also demonstrate cooking techniques for classes and hold workshops for non profit organisations.

A Bit about Jaki:  Orphaned by the Vietnam War and adopted out to a family in Australia. Married an East Anglian and moved to Norwich. Cooking is a way of reconnecting with my Vietnamese roots. Through my charity dinners I raise money for disadvantaged children in Vietnam with the full support of Norwich’s foodie people.

Find Papaya Verte: IG papayaverte Twitter @papaya_verte

We're so delighted for Jaki aka Papaya Verte to be the next to #fillourtable

1. You are at our Christmas dinner party, aside from us, who would you have at your ideal table and why?  

David Attenborough, I don’t think I would ever become tired listening to his stories of the world.  Argentinian Chef Francis Mallman, Buddhist monk chef Jeong Kwan, their philosophy and connection with food, love and life is moving.  Also Chef Kristen Kish, a Korean adoptee who has forged a fantastic career after competing in America’s Top Chef. Also, my lovely husband who has supported my culinary journey every step of the way.


2. What foods are you most thankful for?  Oh there’s so many and for different reasons!  I categorised a few of my choices.

When I’m working;  Ribena, bananas, chocolate and instant Noodles, which with some sliced spring onions and a soft boiled egg, becomes so much more!

For my little one; Spaghetti Bolognese, jasmine rice & chicken wings; my youngest is on the autistic spectrum and these are the only foods he will eat, without fail and on rotation.

For love; Chicken Pho! It is true that the simple chicken noodle soup is good for the soul.  Whether I make it for the family or for a good friend, it feels like I’m giving them a bowl full of love with it’s ginger, gentle aromatic spices and lastly topped with asian herbs.

For sharing; Chips from the chippy and cake of course!  It’s the smell and also I love the way someone will always say ‘oh go on then…’ when at first they have refused the offer!


3. What is your most cherished family tradition regarding food? 

Nothing beats gathering the whole family around a Sunday roast.    There’s never enough roast potatoes or Yorkshire puddings!


4. What act of kindness has made the biggest/greatest difference to your life? 

My adoptive Mum choosing me.


5. What is the best compliment you have ever received?

A friend from Vietnam once said, after tasting my Pho ‘Your Pho is not bad’. 


6. If you had a dollar/pound to give to anyone in the world, who would you give it to and why? 

This was the hardest question to answer.  I just kept coming back to a really sweet thing that happened recently.  I placed one pound under the pillow of my little one, in an envelope from the tooth fairy, when his first tooth fell out.  He didn’t open the envelope for weeks, I think he just wanted to keep the magic going in the envelope.  I would give him another, just because it was so sweet.