Born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand Kit Ashi had a strong affection for the culinary arts. While all of her childhood friends watched cartoons, Kit was watching cooking shows. Her mother also owned a restaurant so she spent much of her time around the food industry. After high-school she thought she wanted to go to culinary school but her mom discouraged her from that, saying “cooking is not going to make you rich.” Just like the classic advice most Asian parents give, Kit’s mom suggested that she be a doctor, lawyer or work for a big company because the life of cooking would be a tired life. And while Kit didn’t go to culinary school, she decided on art school, where she studied painting, ceramics, and print (her mom still didn’t approve). After graduating, Kit got a part-time job as a stylist for a fashion magazine in Bangkok. Not long after, during the Asian Financial Crisis (late 90’s/early 2000’s), her mom had to close her restaurant and things were tight. A friend of hers suggested that she go to the U.S. to be an Au Pair, especially because the American dollar to Thai Baht was very good, so she decided to go for it.
Kit moved her life to Richmond, VA where she was an Au Pair for a family before she switched gears back into the restaurant life. She got her foot in at various Thai restaurants (Elephant Thai, Mama Siam) and then the franchise, Tara Thai. She was asked to help open the new Tara Thai location in Charlottesville in 2009.
One evening Kit was having dinner at Fellini’s with her friend Areeya and they saw the Monsoon sign and fell in love with the space. Lu-Mei Chang (owner) decided they would be a great team to revitalize Monsoon so they added on the end of the name as it is now, Monsoon Siam. Since then she has also helped open Monsoon Siam 2 in Wisconsin, Urban Bowl (formerly in the York Place), and Monsoon ToGo on West Main St. She will be opening yet another space called Pineapples restaurant next to Kardinal Hall with one of her managers, Ply (and wife, Apple), which is slated to open in early June. She’ll also be opening Coconut in Old Trail Village in Crozet closer to July with longtime friends Tiffy and Mor.