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All Thai'd Up

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 Cooking in Front of the Camera

Sakoon Voelz prepares tuna toast, a Thai appetizer, for "Thai Food Tonight" while the family's dog, Billie Jean, stands by for any wayward scraps.

The bare-bones budget of "Thai Food Tonight" requires Cathy Geefay, left, and her mother, Dim Geefay, to take care of their own hair and makeup before taping of their cooking show begins in the family's dining room.

Ernie Geefay ponders how he'll shoot the next scene as his wife, Dim Geefay, and daughter Cathy Geefay wait for taping of "Thai Food Tonight" to resume.

So who is this tiny woman in front of the camera?

If you have watched some of the terrific mother-daughter Thai cooking videos here on iFood.TV you may have wondered who they are and where.   Dim Geefay nand her daughter Kathy are the stars of these videos.  They live east of Sacramento, California in an area called El Dorado Hills.

The filming is done at home by Dim's husband, just as many do it yourself Kitchen Chefs here on iFoodTV are doing today.  You are invited right into their kitchens to watch them cook - only it isn't just entertainment - it is a chance to actually learn to cook great recipes for your own family and friends.

Decades after a rather matronly cookbook author with a unique voice demystified French cooking on a Boston public broadcasting show in the early 1960s, any armchair chef can tune in for how-to on everything from meatloaf to marinated gator ribs.

"Julia Child was the queen."  "She turned it into a spectator sport."  And now such venues as Food Network have turned to entertainment

TV and far less about realy cooking in your kitchen for your family.

An element of entertainment in Child's show gave viewers more than instruction - and reason to keep tuning in, so that a generation later there's the Food Network, a cable network devoted to cooking and eating.  And viewership is not always about the recipes.

"You go to a college dorm and there's all these guys watching the Iron Chef. Does that mean they are going to stir-fry some squid later?  No!  You need to be a piece of show business.

Martha Stewart understood that, so does Food Network star chef Emeril Lagasse, but the latest in the arena of Foodie related avenues is iFood.TV.  Now what makes iFood.TV so different?  It is on demand and free - learn to cook - make a recipe you see as it is not just about entertainment - iFood.TV gives you the instructions, photos/videos and recipes. 

A couple of years ago, Geefay, who owns a video production company, came up with the idea of producing the show as a way to showcase the cooking talents of his wife, Dim, and to give his family a project. He hired a marketer to find sponsors, which now include tuna powerhouse Chicken of the Sea, and lined up cooperation from Thailand's tourism bureau.

Now you say you like Thai food - so why not join iFood.TV's own Thai Group?

I will also be producing many videos and placing great Thai recipes on the group that I have learned and perfected over the past 20 years of learning Thai cuisine from top chefs to street vendors all over The Kindom of Thailand during my over 30 trips thus far.

The first in the series will be about Thai ingredients or what you need in a Thai pantry - and surprisingly, Thai cuisine is much like Italian.  It is based on a few fresh readily available ingredients such as garlic, chiles, basil, and a plethora of veggies and meats and seafood.  Of course, Thai cuisine is easily adaptable to vegetarian cooking and I will explain the how-to's of this style as well, as ALL Thai dishes can be made Vegetarian.

Many instructive and fun videos and recipes are right here on iFood.TV in the Thai Group - so join us today and learn to make mouth watering, exciting and easy healthy Thai meals in your own kitchen.

You will also find several of Dim's recipes in the Thai Group - my husband's absolute favourite Thai dish is Basil Chicken Fried Rice.

Dim's series was run on local Sacramento cable for a few months and now we have it for you on iFood.TV.

Their budget is reined in at three-figures thanks to the volunteer staff: his wife, whom he met in Thailand during a Peace Corps stint, and a daughter, nephew, sister-in-law and brother-in-law.

In the impromptu home studio, they've been spending several hours together every Saturday lately, behind and in front of the camera. In deference to the show's title, they wait for night to darken the bay window dappled with orchids that frames the set where Dim Geefay, 55, and her 23-year-old daughter, Cathy, stir up green curry chicken and slice Thai basil on a long makeshift counter.

After primping, Dim buries her nose in the script as her daughter rehearses aloud the steps for making spicy beef and green papaya salad.

A UCLA graduate, Cathy came home to work in her father's business and found herself alongside her mother, asking things like, "What kind of rice works best?"

"How much can you say about ground beef?" she said, joking about her chatter.

Once the camera is on, though, mother and daughter converse easily as meat sizzles in a pan.

Ernie Geefay, a soft-spoken, even-keeled director, hoists a camera for close-ups and examines a monitor. He tells his sister-in-law, Sakoon Voelz, 51, to tap him on the leg with a wooden spoon if he leans too far into the main camera run by her 18-year-old son.

Before they reach this point, Dim Geefay has spent days writing a script that is part travelogue and part history lesson. Then she shops.

On a warm fall afternoon, she and her sister, Voelz, search the aisles of a south Sacramento Asian grocery where newcomers can feel they need a passport to get in. The two pluck chiles, cilantro and green papayas. These stores are down around Florin Road area just before Elk Grove.

Just before the shoot, the greens drain in the sink as Voelz does the chopping, unwraps the ground beef, shuttles food onto the set, then grabs the wooden spoon and crouches at the ready.

It will take Ernie Geefay three days to edit 60 minutes of tape down to 22 minutes. Then, there's next week's show to start on.

(parts of this blog are based on infomation contained in an article in the Sacramento Bee and the Geefay's own website0.

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All Thai'd Up