Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej of Thailand made headlines upon his election in January of this year, since the first post-coup democratically-elected leader of the world’s 50th largest country was perhaps better known among his constituents as a celebrity chef, not a politician. His show, Chimpai Bonpai (“Tasting, Complaining”), aired on TV and radio from the 1990s until shortly after his election to highest office, presumably because he turned his attention to somewhat more pressing matters.
And now, Samak is making headlines again: Those few shows he filmed between the time of his election and the day he took office were ruled to be a violation of Thailand’s constitution, which forbids elected officials from holding outside jobs, and as of today Samak is being forced to resign as Prime Minister.
He was never terribly popular with the masses anyway: over the last few weeks, protesters in groups ranging in size from the hundreds to the thousands have physically prevented Samak from accessing his office. That a cooking show accomplished what the will of the people could not kind of makes us, personally, feel a little bit better about choosing food writing over law school.
If you’re interested, the dish he was cooking on the particular unconstitutional episode is Tom Kha Salmon, in which the fish is stewed in a galangal-coconut sauce. The recipe can be found here. It sounds good … but maybe not good enough to give up a country for.
Samak will presumably have plenty of opportunities in his newfound free time for both tasting and complaining.
Thailand’s Prime Minister ousted over cooking show [National Post]
Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej forced out over TV chef role [Times UK]
Dish that got Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej in hot water [Times UK]
[Photo: Samak on the set of his show, and the logo for “Tasting, Grumbling,” both via ImportFood.com]
[HT: Mandy S.B.]