Bringing a taste of Thailand to MHAFB

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Prior service member Kriangsak Blechinger spices up Mountain Home Air Force Base by bringing members a little taste of Thailand. Cooking out of a food cart in the dry Idaho heat isn't about the money for him; it's about the people; his favorite part of the job.

After being selected and approved for the volunteer separation program, Blechinger decided to stay in Mountain Home, and with his wife's encouragement and support, he decided to follow his dream - cooking for the local community.

Blechinger explained that his passion for cooking started at the young age of eight or nine.

"It was a mom thing," he said. "That's how my mom and I bonded."

He credits not only his passion for cooking to his mother, but also his skills in the kitchen - or in this case - the food cart.

"Mom's recipes," he explained about what he serves to the community. "It's Thai food, [but] I've toned it down a little bit [for Americans] but it's still good."

His love for Mountain Home and the people in it is obvious as he serves each customer with a genuine smile and easy conversation. With a love for the small town atmosphere here, he couldn't be happier.

"I enjoy cooking so much," Blechinger said. "It actually relaxes me. [Some] people drink, [some] people exercise, but I cook."

As a prior service member, Blechinger takes pride in serving his food on base, just as he did for his fellow Airmen when he was still in.

Tech. Sgt. Joseph Brecht, 366th Fighter Wing NCO in charge, recalls their time spent together in the Maintenance Group. "He used to bring in yummy stuff and give it to everybody, it was awesome."

Brecht said he could tell it was something Blechinger had a passion for, something he loved.

"I truly enjoy serving the folks out here, especially the military because I'm a huge supporter," Blechinger said.

His support for the local service members extends beyond the gates of Mountain Home AFB. Due to the runway closure here, much of the base will be working out of Gowen Field.

"Since the guys are in Gowen Field I'll be feeding them too," he said. "I'm going to do lunch and dinner over there."

Blechinger will be splitting his time between the local community, the base and now Gowen Field, which only emphasizes the dedication and passion he has for what he's doing.

He hopes that running his food cart will prepare him for his ultimate dream; opening a local restaurant.

"This is a good start up, small business, zero overhead and it's getting me introduced to the business itself," Blechinger stated.

"He seems to be doing good with it," Brecht said, hoping Blechinger can reach his goal of having a restaurant.

With his dad's encouraging words, "If you love doing this, do it," and his wife's support, Blechinger hopes to continue to be passionate about what he does and not let it become just another 'job'.

"If I wake up and hate what I'm doing, then I don't want to keep doing it," he said. "If this becomes a job, then I don't want to do it anymore."