This Toronto restaurant owner has been making hilarious videos during lockdown
The owner and chef behind Sala Modern Thai, one of Toronto's most beloved Thai restaurants, is now also a TikTok star.
Aside from making some of the best pad Thai in the city, Kasorn Meepan, a.k.a. Chef Mo, has seriously stepped up her social media presence in the last four months with some of the funniest content on the interwebs right now.
The first video Mo ever posted on TikTok—a version of the Dramatic Moments challenge where she called for more support for Asian businesses—went viral within 24 hours in March and has nearly 200K views so far.
She's only made three videos but already has 12.7K followers on the platform.
Mo has also been posting more to her new Instagram account @eat.mothai, where's she's been sharing tidbits from a brand new vlog launched at the beginning of April.
We're five episodes into the vlog—which for the record is extremely well-produced thanks to Sala's head of marketing Arthur Motskobili—that chronicles Mo and her team at Sala as they work towards opening a new Thai restaurant in Mississauga during the pandemic.
In her latest episode, she pranks her business partners by pretending she's gone bankrupt. In episode four, she challenges guests to a pork vs. Beyond Meat challenge, where she goes on a passionate rant about the importance of "orgasm food."
"Orgasm with everything!" she says.
With her upfront attitude, the 33-year-old chef has all the obvious makings of a social media personality.
"We want people to feel close to us," Mo tells blogTO. "Not just some people behind the scenes. This is Mo, come eat with me, chat with me. I want people to feel that energy. That's the way we are."
Mo, who grew up in Isaan in Thailand's northeast, started working in a restaurant with her aunt at a young age.
"We came from a poor family so I started working at 10 years old," she says. "I promised myself that one day I would own my own restaurant."
She moved to Toronto eight years ago, met her husband Ray Chen, and within four years, opened Sala Modern Thai on the Danforth.
Sala's since become a neighbourhood staple for Thai dishes and, more recently, fun promotions like offering discounts to customers who do squats for their food. Mo also launched Imm Thai in 2018 and then sold it a year later.
While other restaurants in the city struggle to make ends meet amidst Ontario's flip-flopping lockdowns, Mo says Sala's sales have doubled since the beginning of the pandemic.
Many of Sala's customers have been coming all the way from Mississauga for takeout, which convinced Mo and her team that there was an unmet demand for authentic Thai food west of Toronto.
The team is now documenting their journey of launching their new Mississauga restaurant in a vlog that Mo hopes will "inspire other business owners."
The episodes feel like a local reality show, complete with video diaries, some post-production drama, and a recurring cast of characters from her team like Sharon, Eric and Jessie. It also offers some rare and honest glimpses into the challenges of trying to open a business during COVID-19.
Mo says their next step will be a livestream of the team running a whopping 40 kilometres from Sala Modern Thai to the prospective new restaurant in Mississauga, which will, appropriately, be called Mo Thai.
"We are very energetic," says Mo. "We are so lucky, we are young, we’re still hot, and we dare to challenge ourselves."
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