Songkran Celebration and AAPI Fundraiser at Employees Only LA

April 14th, 2021 marked the Thai New Year, Songkran, and White Bark Workwear helped ring in 2564 with a team assembled by Employees Only managing partner Tom Sopit.  Hosted at Summer Social Club, EO’s patio pop-up space, the charity dinner roster included local Thai chefs Justin Pichetrungsi of Anajak Thai, June Intrachat of OTUS Thai Kitchen & Coffee, and Dan Rabilwongse of Tartine Sycamore.  White Bark Workwear created a limited-edition hemp t-shirt and apron for the event with proceeds to be donated to an AAPI related charitable organization alongside Tom and the team.

The recent rise in violence targeting Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities has brought light to an ongoing issue which traditionally hasn’t been reported in mainstream media.  Prompted by the influx of disheartening news coverage, Charlie of WBW began to brainstorm for a way to give back to the affected communities.  With the success of the LA Rises 2020 t-shirt after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Charlie decided to produce another printed tee to fundraise, only this time donating 100% of the profits to an AAPI focused charitable organization.  That’s when he got a call from Tom of Employees Only. 

Charlie previously made aprons for Josh Buckwald of Orso Pasta, a frequent pop-up guest of the Employees Only Summer Social Club (Orso also ships AMAZING handmade pasta direct to your door all over the country!) This led Tom to reach out while in search of custom aprons to be part of fundraising efforts during a one night only Songkran charity event.  The call came right on time and Charlie knew that participating in the event would strengthen the cause.  The art concept was created in collaboration with Tom utilizing the Employees Only logo and altering it to read EVERYONE ONLY to promote inclusivity and togetherness.  The art was then printed on a hemp t-shirt and embroidered onto the signature White Bark Workwear crossback apron, creating the limited-edition pieces which were sold at the event (and are still available on the WBW site).

Stepping into Summer Social Club, attendees could see the kitchen setup outside on the patio allowing a front row seat to the Songkran feast being prepared.  Every sense was stimulated – the sound of metal spoons clanging against iron woks alongside the drumming of giant wooden pestles and mortars, the smell of rambutan coals with prawns sizzling above them and hints of basil and garlic wafting through the air, the sight of kitchen line as the chefs and cooks moved seamlessly in unison to the expeditor’s calls – if you closed your eyes, it was almost as if you were transported to the night markets in Bangkok, minus the humidity.  The menu created by the chefs featured traditional Thai dishes and included Som Tham Pu Dahm (papaya salad), Khung Mae Nahm Pao (grilled river prawns) and Hoi Tod (fried mussel pancake); guests had the option of Mango or Durian sticky rice for dessert.  Employees Only offered Asian-inspired cocktails combining flavors of lemongrass, ginger, mint and even a bok choy puree.  One could easily see the efforts of all involved had successfully brought the Land of Smiles to LA for an evening to celebrate the new year.

White Bark Workwear is proud to stand alongside Tom Sopit of EO, chefs Justin Pichetrungsi, June Intrachat, and Dan Rabilwongse in support of the fundraising event and although the Songkran party is over, you can still purchase a limited-edition t-shirt or apron from our online store to commemorate the Thai New Year festival.  100% of net proceeds will be donated to an AAPI related charitable organization through the coordination and guidance of this amazing team we worked with.  Happy Songkran 2564!!

About the Author: Born and bred in Los Angeles, Jeremy is constantly searching for the next bite to write about.  Between meals, he is food styling for TV/movie productions and commercial photoshoots.  Jeremy has been known to eat 2-3 dinners in one evening, including dessert.

Photos by Charlie Pennes.