Chef Patchara Palmer adds new flavor, Thai cuisine to Community Cafe

Daughter Emily with Mom, Thai Chef Patchara "Patch" Palmer added a new flavor to the community's choice of cuisine at the Community Cafe in Anza. Jodi Thomas photo
Daughter Emily with Mom, Thai Chef Patchara “Patch” Palmer added a new flavor to the community’s choice of cuisine at the Community Cafe in Anza. Jodi Thomas photo

Community Café, under the new management of Chef Patchara Palmer has added new flavor to the community’s choice of fare, Thai Cuisine. Patchara or Patch as she is known, is married to Jim Palmer the new owner of Lizzy Anne’s Garden Center. A few months after opening Lizzy Anne’s Garden Center, the Palmer’s embarked on another local business venture, taking over management of the Community Cafe.

The couple’s newest endeavor is centered around Patch’s culinary skills. As a trained Thai chef graduating from the International Hotel and Tourism Management School in Thailand, she mentored in the states under Somchai Sriweawnetr.

Sriweawnetr is not only a world class chef but a hero who was cooked for many U.S. Embassy employees in Tehran, Iran, before and during the first days of the Iranian hostage crisis in the fall of 1979.

Sriweawnetr hid five Americans and helped them get to the Canadian Embassy safely where a few years later they made a daring escape to freedom that was depicted in the 2012 movie “Argo” starring Ben Affleck.

Sriweawnetr then went back to the American’s homes and destroyed sensitive documents to protect America. Suspected of helping the Americans escape he became a target of an intensive manhunt. During a previous interrogation he had given them wrong information, such as the incorrect spelling of his name and passport number to his interrogators. He had to hide and 18 months later with help from his friend Victor Tomseth, the Embasy’s Senior Political Officer and Senator Paul Tsongas.

Sriweawnetr was able to use his correct name and passport to fly home penniless to Bangkok. Tomseth remembered that Sriweawnetr had worked for the Sheraton in Dubai and so he took it upon himself to speak with the Sheraton Company to procure Sriweawnetr a new job at the Boston Sheraton Hotel here in the U.S.

Sriweawnetr was happy to be in America and with the help of a good Samaritan he was able to bring his family to the U.S. also. While in Boston, President George Bush visited him and later sent him a thank you letter, expressing appreciation for what Sriweawnetr had done and a picture taken of them together.

Sriweawnetr opened his first restaurant of in Boston he would go on to open many more across the nation. One of which was the Thai Village in Fallbrook, where Patch and Jim Palmer originally met.  Patch speaks fondly of Sriweawnetr; she was very proud to have mentored under such a knowledgeable chef and restaurateur.

Patch said Sriweawnetr taught her how to run every aspect of a restaurant as well as improve upon her culinary skills and that she misses working with him. After the Thai Village in Fallbrook closed several years ago, she and Sriweawnetr parted ways, she had married Jim and would remain here and he and his family went back to the East Coast to start another restaurant.

Patch would become a medical biller, a profession that she said did not fulfil her and left her longing for her first love, cooking. So the Palmer’s were earnestly looking for the perfect venue to open a new restaurant, one close to home, when they heard that the Community Cafe owner Luis Ippolito was open to have someone take his restaurant over and run it as their own.

Ippolito’s multiple business ventures had grown and were keeping him too busy to properly oversee the running of the Anza eatery. Ippolito’s dilemma was the perfect solution for Patch as she could step in keep some of the original cuisine and add her specialty, Thai food.

The Palmer’s decided to keep breakfast menu and phased out the other dishes as their customer base prefers Patch’s fresh, cooked to perfection, savory Thai cuisine.

Emily, the Palmer’s daughter helps her mother at the cafe. She is the perfect hostess along with Barbara Kelle. The two are an efficient and hospitable team ready to take your order whether you are eating in or dining out.

Magi Love, a newcomer to the Anza area is thrilled with the menu choices that Patch brings to the table. A longtime lover of Thai food, she praised Palmer’s culinary skills. Others who are in the know about Thai cuisine also praise her abilities to make each dish fresh and savory time after time.

Even those who are unfamiliar with Thai food are delighted with the new taste experience.

“Fresh ingredients attention to detail, with each meal being freshly made to order makes the difference,” said Patch.

You can try Chef Patch’s reasonably priced, cuisine with healthy portions; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The restaurant serves an American and Thai style breakfast and Thai cuisine for lunch and dinner. The Community Café is conveniently located inside the Anza Community Hall on Hwy. 371 in the township of Anza. When there are special meetings or events in the Anza Community Hall, the café is closed.

For more information, call (760) 809-9805.

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