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The Most Positive Entrepreneur Around, Emshika Alberini

The most positive entrepreneur around, emshika alberini

Kerry Diamond: Hey, Bombesquad. Welcome to Radio Cherry Bombe, the show that's all about women and food. I'm your host, Kerry Diamond, coming to you from Brooklyn New York. I can't believe this is our last show of the year. It's hard to say anything except good riddance, 2020.

I do want to end the year on a positive note, so I invited Emshika Alberini to be Radio Cherry Bombe's last guest of the season. Emshika is the most positive person I know. She is the owner of Chang Thai Café in Littleton, New Hampshire, and the creative force behind the By Emshika drinks line. Emshika has faced heartbreak and unspeakable loss. Yet, she has never lost her belief in the power of love and kindness. She's an inspiration to me, and I hope you draw inspiration from her as well.

A big thank you to Kerrygold, the maker of beautiful butter and cheese from Irish, grass-fed dairy, for supporting Cherry Bombe all year. They are the nicest folks to work with, and they make the best dairy products around. We'll be right back with Emshika after this word from Kerrygold.

Kerrygold Announcer: Kerrygold is delicious, all-natural butter and cheese, made with milk from Irish, grass-fed cows. Our farming families pass their craft and knowledge from generation to generation.

Kerrygold Speaker: I'm fifth generation. It goes back over 250 years.

Kerrygold Announcer: This traditional approach is the reason for the rich taste of Kerry Gold. Enjoy delicious new sliced or shredded Kerrygold cheddar cheese, available in mild or savory flavors at a retailer near you. Find your nearest store at

Kerry Diamond: Here's my interview with Emshika Alberini.

Emshika, welcome to Radio Cherry Bombe.

Emshika Alberini: Hi, Kerry.

Kerry Diamond: Well, welcome back. We're super excited to have you back on the show. So, we are going to jump right in it because I have a million things to ask you because you do a million things. So, let's start at the beginning, Emshika. So, you grew up in Bangkok. What was your childhood like?

Emshika Alberini: Emshika Alberini: Well, I grew up in Bangkok. My dad is military. My mom is basically a home wife, raising us three kids. My brother is younger than me, and my sister is four years younger than me. And grew up in Bangkok, we all have street vendors. That's how I eat my breakfast, lunch and dinner. My mom would grab something quick and go to take us to school. So, we enjoy food around us, and we had a big family.

Kerry Diamond: So, tell me more about the street vendors. What would your mom grab for you en route to school?

Emshika Alberini: Oh, my god. I'm still thinking about when I was a kid. We had a lunch break, and my mom would bring a fish cake. I can say in Thai – tod mun. So, my mom will pack in the rice and tod mun and feed us. So, in Thailand, you're allowed to have parents go to school and feed you. They don't have rule that you don't have any lunchbox game and all that. She'll come in and then say, "I'm going to feed my kid," while we're playing in the playground. And she'll make a rice ball and with a little fish ball and then stick into the rice. And then just give me one by one until we finish lunch, and she'd go home and pick us up. At the end of the day, we would go to the market and pick up food, what we love. That what I love the most about it. We can get a different food every day. Actually, in talking about food, maybe talking about my grandmother a little bit.

Kerry Diamond: Oh, sure. Well, I read that you said your mom taught you how to cook, but your grandmother did as well?

Emshika Alberini: My grandmother actually is our inspiration between me and my mom because, every summer, we'll take the train to go to southern part of Thailand and visit my grandmother. You can't believe how easy it is to open a business in Thailand. If you want to sell food today, you just go right pop on your front porch, and that's your restaurant right there. You then go, right? So, we go there in summer. My grandmother sold noodle and curry, only one thing, but three types of curry dishes. So, I'm helping her collect the money, and she also, beside having that porch, selling food, she also had a grocery store that people can come and get some grocery, selling all kind of things. So, I'd be helping her.

This is how my grandmother worked. So, in the morning, she'll make some noodle at 3:00 AM. So, she'll get the fish from the fisherman that went to the ocean and bring her fish. All the fisherman will go to the market and sell fish. And then when the fisherman finished that trip selling fish, they'll come back to my grandmother and sit down. And then, my grandmother will feed him with the curry that she made from his fish. It's very beautiful. It's so sustainable. I just love that story so much. I love to share with everyone about how that food and love could make people happy like, "Oh, the circle of life," you know?

Kerry Diamond: Those were also some of your early entrepreneur lessons. Now, I know where you get it from, your grandmother.

Emshika Alberini: Yes. She woke at 3:00 AM. I don't know if I can do that.

Kerry Diamond: That's true. That's tough. That's tough. Okay, so you and your mom would go down and visit her. So, back in Bangkok, you said your mom taught you how to cook. What were some of the things she taught you?

Emshika Alberini: She's from southern part of Thailand, so she would make curry. But my favorite thing is called kaeng tun. It's just simple. You put water base. In Thailand, we love having all kind of things, so my mom would teach me how to make kaeng tun just like soup. And she'll go pick up some slices of pork, fresh vegetable, and throw it in a pot, just like hot pot, but it's not too spicy. That's easy to make. And also, my favorite meal that she taught me is ... This is very silly, but it's just egg soup. We'll fry the egg first, and then get it more crispy, and then we'll make a process of the soup. Put some broth in and some soy sauce, fish sauce, and the whole garlic, smash it, peppers, and then put some egg in it. Oh, my god, that's probably one of my favorite meal when I was a kid. It's very simple. It's not complex. It's not roasted. It's not oven-baked. We just do on the stove, and basically a lot of soup and stir fry that I've been learning.

Kerry Diamond: Oh, that sounds so good. That soup sounds perfect for right now.

Emshika Alberini: I know. So good.

Kerry Diamond: With all that garlic.

Emshika Alberini: Yes, it had to be whole clove of garlic. It can't be like ... You can chop fine. That's my mom technique. Oh, and don't forget, cilantro root. Cilantro root, smash it. It's so good.

Kerry Diamond: I love cilantro so much. So, at what point, Emshika, did you decide you were going to come to the US?

Emshika Alberini: Yeah, that's a very funny story, actually. So, after I graduated from college, I had my bachelor degree in political science. I don't know what to do with it. Seriously, I'm not really - you see me. I'm not serious person, so I got a first job at Seiko, the watch company.

Kerry Diamond: You are a serious person, but you're fun.

Emshika Alberini: So Seiko is S-E-I-K-O. It's a watch company, but we make Hello Kitty watch and all kind of thing. Anyway, my first job was a buyer, and not related to political science at all. You figure. So, it's this Japanese company, right? They sent me to learn to study Japanese language in Bangkok, so we can communicate with Japanese engineering. One day I was like, I'm not going to take class. I don't want it. So I sit down in the lobby. And they saw one of sticky note like a note pad. It's like, "Oh, come to America. We have some fun program. It's called exchange student." I took that note and go back to home and give it to my mom and call my mom said that's scam. I don't believe that. Then I was like, "Mom, just test it out. They have conference in the hotel. That sounds legit to me." Mom said, well, "You're not young, but you're 20-something and just try it, and then I went to that seminar.

That's called Au Pair in America program, but basically you go. That's the first program I think. I went to the seminar and say, "Oh my god. It has pictures, and this sounds real." I applied to the program, and I got a call from the family from New Jersey and between buyer, and them I was like I'm going to be a nanny. I think I want to go. I want to learn something new. My mom was still scared, but she let me do it. She said if you want it, I trust you. I did make a decision to become an exchange student as a nanny after my professional career.

Kerry Diamond: Wow. So you did it in reverse. It wasn't entirely a scam like your mom thought, but they were recruiting you to be a nanny as well as a student. Okay.

Emshika Alberini: But, the nanny is pretty. It's like exchange student come to work and travel, so it sounds really good. We get a good chance to study in our local community college to learn. Actually, I've never regretted it because the family I live in is amazing family. They teach me all I have. The first season is Easter, and then we go to Halloween. Then we go to Thanksgiving. Then well, they're Jewish so it's Hannukah. They meet a lot of new friends. So every Friday, the program will get together with other au pair programs and the nearby family and get together with pizza. It's such a good time. I don't have to think too much about dealing with negotiation, purchasing, and inventory. It's just like, have fun.

Kerry Diamond: So then you did go back to Bangkok after that?

Emshika Alberini: Yes. So, after a year program, I did go back to Bangkok. But prior to that, I met friend in Albany, New York. She's like, "I'm looking for a roommate." It's like, should I come back? Then she's like, "Yeah, come to study ESL. She went to the school and get a form called I-20 just to apply for a five-year student visa called F1. I was in Bangkok anyway. So she just helped me do that process. I pick her up from the airport. She said, "Here's your I-20. You're coming with me." Then we just went to embassy, and I got five years of student, come back to her, in a few months later become her roommate. We just work at the restaurant, Chinese restaurant, Thai restaurant, all kind of things, and I just studied.

Kerry Diamond: So you were in Albany, and you are going to college and working in a restaurant at the same time.

Emshika Alberini: Yes. Joy, my roommate, is really... Her dad is a graduate from USA and got a doctorate. Her mom got a masters degree. Actually, I don't really inspire me to study continue, but I feel like you know what, I just love. I didn't know that I love learning until I starting it. I was like, I think I can do it. So, I went to community college. I just apply for my grad school, and then I got it. I took about almost two years to finish my Organization Management at Russell Sage College up in Albany. I work for the company after that for OPT, General Electric, as database analyst. Again, it's still not related to hospitality, right?

Kerry Diamond: I'm sure you learn things that helped.

Emshika Alberini: Yes. From my previous job as Seiko Thailand, we learn buyer negotiation. At GE, they teach us a lot how to streamline the process of working. Basically, they do a lot of layoffs at that time. My job is basically to analyze the employees behavior. It's a lot. So, basically, I had to work every day for 10,000 of employees and about their life, where they live, why they do that, but why they retire. That's my job. It's just a fun thing that I didn't know that I'm going to use it for my business as of today. They teach us how to make everything cost efficient. How to make sure that your employees don't spend too much time? But anyway, so I just learned a lot from the business side of it.

Kerry Diamond: Did you miss your mom and your grandmother back home?

Emshika Alberini: I did. I did. So whild I was working for a company, I had a part time job coming a little bit before that, when I went to the college, actually when I was in college. I was working at the Monkey Bar in Cape Cod for my summer job because my boss owned a restaurant in Cape Cod. Then I got a phone call. My mom said oh, your grandmother just passed away. I was like, oh my god, seriously? My grandmother passed away when I was in the US. I asked her why. She said that, well, she passed out. I was like, how did she pass out? She said she was cooking. She's peaceful. You can see how. I just admire her on every niche of it that you know how much she put love and hardworking. Just I never seen that people that work hard just like my grandmother.

Kerry Diamond: What was your grandmother's name, Emshika?

Emshika Alberini: Pan, P-A-N. Yeah, very, very short name. My mom's name is Nian. My grandmother Pan, P-A-N, very short. And but you know, it was sad but then she just inspires me on in my heart. She stayed, and then I just think that this woman just teach me everyday life. Be patient and be kind. I think that what I say the most to her, just kind and giving.

Kerry Diamond: That's amazing.

Emshika Alberini: Yeah.

Kerry Diamond: So at what point do you decide you want to be either an entrepreneur or restaurateur or both?

Emshika Alberini: It's so funny because I work at corporate. It's still like I work until midnight sometime because we have project. Then they were like, "Your deadline is today. You have to be done. I just can't believe that I'm not happy. I just stress and I have a headache when I come home. I still work at part time as waitressing at the restaurant, and it's like why don't I have a headache when they work at the restaurant. Why I always smile? I'm just thinking a lot. At that time, actually, my little sister was working at a restaurant in New Jersey. I was talking with her every day. Then she always keep telling me, you know what, one day I'm going to own a restaurant. You're going to help me work. She's like, "Yeah, sure. Why not? I can do it." Then I got married. That's how I move to Littleton, New Hampshire.

Kerry Diamond: And now you are one of the biggest boosters of New Hampshire I've ever met. You love your state so much.

Emshika Alberini: Thank you. So yeah, now after GE, and then moving to New Hampshire in 2006 about. I still work. So when I decided to move up here, I was surprised because I never been to New Hampshire before. I don't have job, Kerry. I have zero because New Hampshire is more very... The place where I live is very less population.

Kerry Diamond: It's a little more rural.

Emshika Alberini: Only 5,000. So what I'm going to do? I was talking with my... He's my ex-husband now. I was like, what are we going to do? Actually, I work at ice cream shop. I went to work. Then people asked me. I said, "Yeah, I have my degree," and then they were looking at me. Oh, okay. I was like, "Yeah, but I love it. It's fun." I can buy food. And then I'm waitressing a few places. One day I'm waitressing at a diner, and I got a phone call that my sister passed away at 5:00 AM on my birthday. So they called me and say, you're not coming to work? I said, "No, I'm not coming to work." Anyway, in 2007, she did pass away before I got a job in Vermont to be working as a coding department as inventory control. Then I quit part-time job up and work for that company. Again, went back to corporate, still not food yet.

Kerry Diamond: You don't have to talk about Ann, your sister, if you don't want to but you very graciously talked about her at Jubilee one year at our Jubilee conference. You told everyone about Ann and how she was your inspiration for getting into the food business that you were going to open a restaurant one day, but that she unexpectedly passed away. You decided to move forward with your plan that you'd have with your sister.

Emshika Alberini: Yes. Again, I went back to corporate and then I'm still not happy. I was pregnant, eight-month pregnant with my son, my first son. One day, I walked on Main Street. I'm still pregnant I saw the sign say for rent. I was thinking of Ann constantly. I've been still. Not even a day that I never thinking of her. Then I was like, you know what? I think I can do it. I talked to my landlord. He said he can help me finishing up and all that. That's how I started. I was pregnant. The company layoff people at that time, and I got a little bit of help with my...

Kerry Diamond: So you got some severance?

Emshika Alberini: Yes, yes. Then I was like, God, but how can I do restaurant without money? I have zero money but I just feel right. Everything is going wrong, but I feel right.

Kerry Diamond: I remember how you finance that restaurant. Can you tell everyone the very untraditional financing scheme that you put together?

Emshika Alberini: Yeah, it's a funny thing. That space that I found for rent basically came from drunk driver hit the building. Everything came down so basically the building is empty. Not only that – the Main Street has ripped out the sidewalk. Basically, there's no sidewalk that people can walk but I still open the restaurant.

Kerry Diamond: But you saw potential.

Emshika Alberini: I know. I'm really crazy. I think I am. I found another way around. I submitted my business plan. I got turned down. No one gave me money. I got a credit card. I was like, you know what? I think I can last this much. Okay, entrepreneur out there. I think my advice is that, if you feel you can last, do it. I mean that you don't go over, but I have this much that I can last for this budget. I'll take my risk and do it. Then I did that. The bank then gave me, and I use a credit card to buy equipment. You can start restaurant with not too much money if you not do too fancy, just simple.

Kerry Diamond: So tell us what the concept was.

Emshika Alberini: I sold probably one food item. The first day, we got less than 20 customer, but it's built up over time. I return on my investment a year later. It's amazing. When I look back, I was like, how could that be? I don't know why, and I just did it. I think I keep going and doing it.

Kerry Diamond: This was the original Chang Thai restaurant and you never changed location.

Emshika Alberini: No. I never changed location.

Kerry Diamond: You're still in the same location. Wow.

Emshika Alberini: And I become a landlord. I own the building last year. I'm very happy 12 years of working because the landlord retired, and they saw me since day one. He was like, you know what... My landlord actually is a great chef. She graduated from French Culinary Institute, and he saw me since day one. He even helped me. You want some French-Thai fusion, I can help you with that. It was like, no. That's fine. I want to keep it. My grandmother recipe is really good, actually. It was funny how we support each other, I would say. When my landlord decided to retire, so I got to be owning the building right now. I think it's going to be for life for this one.

Kerry Diamond: That's incredible. You opened an additional business?

Emshika Alberini: Yes, Yes, I did. I open Emso. I think if you remember when we talk on Radio Cherry Bombe last time. I have Emso. That's how I host Hillary Clinton event. I bought the building for three, four years of the business. So I bought another building that used to be a bookstore. At that time, the bookstore has been really have difficult time for any bookstore because of the digital. I think traditional bookstores do great. I love to touch the book. I said, you know what, I'm going to keep it. So I send out my business plan but the business has been really good. I got a building to have the bookstore. Then I opened a coffee shop in the bookstore called Emso.

Kerry Diamond: Is that still open?

Emshika Alberini: No. It's closed because a bookstore wanted to expand so they took the whole space. Then next to that is POP-M.

Kerry Diamond: And tell everyone about POP-M.

Emshika Alberini: I still keep going, opening the coffee shop until I realize I don't think I can do a coffee shop. I think I should just keep the restaurant because I think when you do coffee shop. It's very talent. You should be able how to do baking.

Kerry Diamond: Right. We've talked about this because you came to my coffee shop in Brooklyn a few times. It's not easy.

Emshika Alberini: It's not. It's not. I think if I'm a baker I probably still stay alive in a coffee shop world, but I stepped out and I think baker's big so just let them.

Kerry Diamond: But Chang Thai's still going strong. Tell us what the most popular things are on the menu.

Emshika Alberini: I think one of the feature and Cherry Bombe, as you can see, we love rock and roll. We love sushi, and then the Thai food - my mom makes it. I don't see anywhere Asian grilled beef that marinated overnight, and grill it and sauteed with spinach and some vegetable. It is such a great touch that my mom just make such a good recipe on it. We sell pretty good on that dish too beside Pad Thai, of course.

Kerry Diamond: Pad Thai, you can't get away from Pad Thai, I'm guessing. Tell us what else people love.

Emshika Alberini: My restaurant has all kinds of food like Thai food. We do some sushi and now we have some, we do Poké Bowl. People love everything. It's hard for me. Now people really like they're very healthy so they're looking for a small dish. Sushi has been going well. Noodle soup now, it's selling good like khao soi that we have, our Thai noodles. I do Thai boat noodle soup this time of year so good.

Kerry Diamond: What's in that? Can you tell us?

Emshika Alberini: It's rice noodle. I put some pepper, soy sauce. I think the secret one I put some, add some star anise in it. I don't know what to call. It's really cinnamon flavor, but had fish sauces so spicy, salty.

Kerry Diamond: Tell us what's in your Pad Thai.

Emshika Alberini: Pad Thai? Oh my god. That Pad Thai, we have rice noodle and tamarind sauce, fish sauce, sugar, you name it. The trick of Pad Thai is actually it's not that hard. I think everyone can make Pad Thai at home. All you have to do is put everything equal part, the fish sauce. You can use tamarind if you don't have that. Use vinegar and sugar, make equal part. If you do one tablespoon, everything one tablespoon. You'll be the Pad Thai winner. Everyone can make that at home.

Kerry Diamond: So it's interesting that, even though it's a Thai restaurant, you do need to do other things. You mentioned Poké Bowls and sushi. Is that just the reality of owning a restaurant where you do that you really have to be customer-first and do what the customers want?

Emshika Alberini: Yeah, it's a strategy. If you're really a restaurant owner, one thing I learned is that if you go talk to customer, you get 20 case studies a day, which means you can learn feedback from them. Just talk to them. It's like, hey, how's it going? What do you think? What should I have? I've been doing that for years and years, and I add everything over time because I talk to customer every day. My friend was like, "Yeah, you get a free case study every day." I think I learned from them actually. Some people will say like, oh my god, this is not what I have from the other part like in New York, Boston. So I tell them Thailand has different flavors. You go to south you get different one like salty and spicy. You go to central, you got like very neutral. Go to North a little bit thicker, sweet, spice, so you explain different thing. If you like it, then my food is very contemporary, very neutral. That's what does my mom cook every day for me too at home.

Kerry Diamond: Emshika, how did you have to adjust because of the pandemic?

Emshika Alberini: Yeah. Good question, Kerry. Actually, this has challenged me, but I found out that they probably want to take out, as everyone knows that, right? I think, for me, when I first know it was the pandemic, I know that we can make the business still, which mean, if you cannot bring customer to us, I'm going to spend my money to others, which means that I will stimulate the other local business. That money will bounce back to us. For example, I sliced my money to be different pies, so everyone can enjoy this one. So I support others and then they come to us. Actually, we support local very strongly just to make the micro economies keep going, so we not stop. That's what how I think we survived for this pandemic. It has been really great.

Surprisingly, I found out that we have a very busy month in the past three months because we have people move from the influx from other states just like New York. I have people set up the cam come from New York stay in New Hampshire for three months because they want to get away. They have people from Rhode Island or Massachusetts. That's something that, I don't know, is different. It made us different but support local and help each other out. That's the key.

Kerry Diamond: I know you pivoted to doing products. This is before the pandemic. You started doing all different things in the beverage space. How did that come about? Can you walk us through some of your projects?

Emshika Alberini: Again, I think when I'm addressed wrong, I just look at what did I sell the most? What item sell the most? So it became to be tea, and the margin is really good. Talking about that, come back to when I start. I think I started this one couple years ago. As you know, I was in what is the Jubilee one time for you. I want to bottle it, but I feel like it's still not right. I've been struggling for a couple years, actually. I feel like I want to do something because Thai tea has color, so I want to do something natural. I want to do something that you don't feel like you drink color in it. I've been trial. I change from bottle from glass. I chain vendor, I change co-packing until I end up find the right one during this pandemic is a can, actually, and recyclable.

Emshika Alberini: Then we can do without any color in it with almost zero sugar, zero calorie right now. So I think it takes time. I feel like what do you feel sometimes, you just keep trying. You know that it's not right. Sometimes you feel like you just have to keep walking until you find the right way and the right turnout at the end.

Kerry Diamond: So a few follow-up questions. That has to be expensive, though, because you're constantly trying new products and new packaging. How do you, for those listeners who are interested in having their own products and a lot of people are today?

Emshika Alberini: They can talk to me. I have a technique. I have a technique. That means I do a lot of research. I talk to a lot of vendors. Again, I will set up some money on the side to do R&D. Sometimes, let's say I go out to eat, but that money that would not exceed more than what I expect to be and would not be... This was going to be only tasting, only sample. So I will find someone that can help me to do research and development that I want and test it with the budget I'm setting up, not go over, because I'm not sure how it's going to come out. Also, you have to get feedback is very important. When you get the right feedback, a lot of feedback will mold you to better shape, to better products. So sometime when you launch it, you think it's good but then some of other things that environment, we don't know that answer until we hear a lot of those feedback. Then you make it better. So those three-year I have trying, it just became that what I really wanted for now, again.

Kerry Diamond: You mentioned co-packers. For folks who don't know what that means, can you explain?

Emshika Alberini: Yeah, a co-packer is helping a lot. A co-packer has two parts. One, co-packer can help you to make product. Another co-packer can help you to develop products. They're different. If you have some idea about making food and you feel like, okay, I want gluten free. I want all zero sugar, zero calorie. So you go to a co-packer. They may say like okay you go find another one to do research and development and then get your formula. That's your patent. That's your recipe. Then go back to find a co-packer to make that exactly formula you need. We're talking about two-part here. Sometimes, co-packer can help you develop the product, but I feel like you should separate them because you're going to be back and forth with a sample so many times. You can take six or 12 months. Then once you get final of your products, you go back to the co-packer, and question is the key to always asking, always curious. What do you want? You always have question in your mind. What next? That will help you to be the next step.

Kerry Diamond: Are you working with co-packers in New Hampshire?

Emshika Alberini: Yes, I did. But before that, I think when I was doing first one it was in the area until one day I was sleeping at midnight. Then, all of a sudden, I do Google research and then I found in New Hampshire. It's like bravo because I wanted to get something local anyway. I want to start out just for New Hampshire first, and then we have a strong foundation to expand our wings to something else, to somewhere bigger. I think it's a good starting point that to could be a good momentum. Start from small and then just growing as capacity as you can go.

Kerry Diamond: Some of your products you that you brought to market were the result of collaborations

Emshika Alberini: Yes, yes. It is a strategy plan because, in New Hampshire, people love travel. It means they're hiker. They just like to go to place-to-place. This is without going to some other state. We want to like, okay, first off, you stop at Tamworth. Then, how can they know us? Probably some people don't have time to read, right? I mean, in general, so they will go, for example, to Tamworth.

Kerry Diamond: Tamworth is their local distillery.

Emshika Alberini: Yeah, it's one hour and a half away. How can we know them, or how can they know me? So we collaborate. Instead of giving our brochure or food information, but we give them drinks and have it. They probably never forget. They have a bottle at home that say like, Emshika Chang Thai. That's how we collaborate that one, and we just do it. I just do this with another company too. We just put the name and exchange it with with a product instead of information.

Kerry Diamond: So it was a spicy gin, right, that you did with them? I mean the bottle's beautiful. The artwork on the bottle is beautiful, even just the spicy component. I feel like you did do a lot to bring your signature and personality to that collaboration.

Emshika Alberini: Yeah, they have a really great team that actually is... One day, I give them. I went there to do whiskey testing. I was like you know I have a backup chili pepper in my purse. You want to try this. I think you need to try something different. Let's do it. Let's do some niche market. The chemist, the guy that do chemistry there is like, okay, we will try so we put kaffir lime and chili, and it came out good. It's so good. It just doesn't hurt your throat at all. It's just the right spice. They were excited to collaborate because they feel something different that they want to expose on it.

Kerry Diamond: It's a great product and it's fun to make cocktails with it. Emshika, did you say you had a backup chili pepper in your purse?

Emshika Alberini: Yes, I went to the market. In a Ziploc, actually. This is New Hampshire. We don't have Asian market around, so I travel to Boston and come back with all kinds of food from Asian market and stop to see friends and having lunch or dinner. Here what I have. Why don't you just go. Actually, we start to grow some chili for them just to see what a different. But when we grew it, it just came out as good as from the market. So

Kerry Diamond: When will your coffee and tea come to market, finally?

Emshika Alberini: The tea is our main product. The coffee is bonus because, when you go to Thai restaurant, you have coffee and tea, that Thai iced coffee and it's addictive. It's really good. So I just add that.

Kerry Diamond: If people want to buy any of your products, Emshika, where can they find them?

Emshika Alberini: Right now, we reformulated because I did send some sample to one of my friend. You were the very first buyer. Thank you so much. The sugars is high at our first sample, so we down from 25 to five grams of sugar right now, which is almost zero. One of them is zero sugar, which is perfect. All natural, no added sweetener. Tea in Thailand actually has no milk. My mom used to sell Thai tea in the market, actually, with without any milk in it. That's the original with lime. When Thai tea bring into the US, they add milk to make it cloudy, beautiful, but now so we add oat milk in it. The next one has oatmeal that you don't have to add your oat milk. You just like ready, get go. You had milk in it, but with option this time.

Kerry Diamond: That's great. You are a big fan of continuing education. You're always telling me about some school you've enrolled in or something. What is the latest school you have gone to, and why are you such a big believer in this?

Emshika Alberini: Yeah. I think one day, when I first met you, one thing that you told... You were a speaker, and I remember you told us that I always scratch my head every single day is curious and current. That one I've been using every day. Yes, we stay current under in the latest information, and be curious what we don't know and we want to know it. In enrolled in this school right now. It's SBS Online. I just graduated the other day.

Kerry Diamond: You did? Congratulations.

Emshika Alberini: Yeah. I almost not pass, but I did. I made it. It's Sustainable Business Strategy that help you to think about future. It's such a great class. I will encourage everyone during this downtime to take some classes. Amazing. I learned so much from this class in seven weeks. They teach by Harvard professor, and tuition is not expensive. I just learned how to look into the future with climate and environment that has been changed and is sustainable product. That has helped me with my product development, too.

Kerry Diamond: That's great. That's great. So I said stay current and curious. Okay, that's good advice.

Emshika Alberini: That's we'll call it, actually.

Kerry Diamond: The last thing I want to ask you before I let you go is you are the most positive person I know. These are really tough times. When Kat and I were talking about who we wanted on the last show of the year, I said I'd really love to talk to Emshika because she's just always happy. She's always positive. She's always encouraging. How do you maintain that even at a time like this?

Emshika Alberini: You know that I lost my sister. I think giving. Losing her just hit me pretty hard. I feel like you don't have time. You don't really know what's going on. Oh my god. This will make me cry. Sorry. Just giving. I believe in being kind is always good.

Kerry Diamond: I didn't mention kindness. You are the kindest person I know. You've been so supportive of Cherry Bombe. You've been so supportive of me and so many people I know. I remember when Chef Millie's restaurant closed, you immediately texted me and you were like, "Can you send me her phone number? I want to invite her up here to do a guest chef dinner." I mean you just have such a big heart.

Emshika Alberini: I think giving without expecting is a great gift to give to anyone. I remember one thing. If I can do and go back, I would give to my sister more than I can do right now. I feel like time is so limited. Why don't you just give love? Love is so beautiful. I think it's a foundation of life. Then I feel like people should have more sympathy. Everyone you talk about or talking about saving restaurant. Here we go. I don't know. I'm not a politician. I'm not a Congress. All I can do I just have my money here, and then I'll go support every single person of my friend restaurant even here and far. I'll go buy cookie from my friend in New York. I will buy the cookbook. I will buy them. I don't have a power to do much, but this is how I save my friend. That what I can do.

Kerry Diamond: Emshika, you just are the most amazing person. You really are. I mean, you've taught me so much through your generosity and your kindness and your friendship. I know so many people in the Bombesquad love you so much.

Emshika Alberini: Oh, thank you.

Kerry Diamond: No, thank you.

Emshika Alberini: So talking about I really enjoy reading your current issue 15.

Kerry Diamond: You're changing the subject.

Emshika Alberini: Oh, yeah.

Kerry Diamond: Well, I'm glad you got the issue and you're in there in a big way. Thank you for supporting that issue. Okay, so we're gonna wipe our eyes and blow our noses. Let's talk about next year. Do you have any plans for 2021?

Emshika Alberini: Yes. Next year is going to be big. I think it's going to be. Everyone is happy about. You know what it is. We got a really good house here and good leaders. I just feel the future if we are happy, hope, rainbows, sunshine, and celebration. Vaccine is coming. It's going to be great for all of us. Then we just make a hope that I think that, for me, I'm going to just working on my product and get it launches. People can try all this and grab and go. I feel like it's going to be another new business model after this pandemic that somehow what you can do to make yourself change to be different way in the future. It's not only that, but then you look into something changed in a better way.

Kerry Diamond: Emshika, we're going to do a little speed round to close out 2020 with you. Okay, you ready? These are light questions. No harder questions.

Emshika Alberini: Not like last time.

Kerry Diamond: What is the oldest thing in your fridge?

Emshika Alberini: White wine.

Kerry Diamond: White wine? Why is it old? Why did you drink it?

Emshika Alberini: I just like to see but I keep it. I don't know why. It is white wine.

Kerry Diamond: That's going to stay forever.

Emshika Alberini: Forever. I have a year of white wine. That has been opened. It doesn't go bad.

Kerry Diamond: Okay, I don't know if a wine expert would agree with you on that, but okay. What is your most used kitchen implement?

Emshika Alberini: Measuring cup. I've been doing a lot of experiment food, so measuring cup is just like my goddess right now.

Kerry Diamond: I know the answer to this one, coffee or tea.

Emshika Alberini: Tea.

Kerry Diamond: How do you take it?

Emshika Alberini: Hot.

Kerry Diamond: Song that makes you smile.

Emshika Alberini: I Don't want to miss a thing, Aerosmith.

Kerry Diamond: What is one of your most treasured cookbooks?

Emshika Alberini: Oh, wow. Martha Stewart, I just read.

Kerry Diamond: A Martha cookbook?

Emshika Alberini: Yeah, Martha cookbook.

Kerry Diamond: Food that you can't or would never eat?

Emshika Alberini: Heart.

Kerry Diamond: Heart.

Emshika Alberini: Any more heart, I can't.

Kerry Diamond: Okay. Dream travel destination.

Emshika Alberini: Greece.

Kerry Diamond: Greece. Oh, that would be nice. What is your number one resolution for 2021.

Emshika Alberini: Number one resolution, be kind, be love, be supportive. Is that resolution, Kerry?

Kerry Diamond: Well, you already do those things. So resolution is usually something that you want to do that you don't normally do, but I guess you could. It's your life, Emshika. You can say whatever you want.

Emshika Alberini: You can cut that out.

Kerry Diamond: That's it for today's show. Thank you to Emshika Alberini for all the love and support. If you'd like to support Emshika, tell all your New Hampshire friends about her restaurant, Chang Thai Cafe in Littleton, New Hampshire. You can also follow her on Instagram @emshika. She's the one and only. You can see what's up with all her projects.

Thank you to Kerrygold for supporting this episode. Radio Cherry Bombe is edited by Kat Garelli and produced by Cherry Bombe Media. Happy New Year, Kat, and thank you for everything. Our theme song is All Fired Up by the band Tralala. 2020, you were not the Bombe. 2021, we're counting on you. Thank you for listening, everybody, and Happy New Year.

When Harry Met Sally Clip: I'll have what she's having.