Emshika Alberini is charismatic and fun to be around. She is a hardworking businesswoman with a heart of gold that loves to see others succeed. She is always cooking, traveling, meeting lots of other business owners, planning the next event or business idea, and balances it all while being a mom and business owner. She’s got some great partnerships with other local businesses such as Tamworth Distilling and currently has a limited edition bottle of Thai Chili Gin! Keep an eye out for more from her in the future and scroll down to hear a bit about her story!
Photography by Jenn Bakos
First off, tell us about your business and what it is you do!
I am a restaurateur, I own Chang Thai Café in Littleton, NH
I also own a few commercial buildings in town and love being an investor and business advisor for small start up .
What is the story behind your business? How did it all come to be?
I wasn’t plan all this things; however, after I lost my sister, Ann, in 2006, I was devastated and rethinking about life. Trying to figure it out. Putting it all together, I decide to make my late sister’s dream into reality. She was a chef and always wanted to open a restaurant. Our original plan was I would do the business part and she would do the operation.
It was in the moment that I realized how precious life is and how life can be taken away from us in a split second. That’s what I always remind myself and remind others to do: spend time with your loved ones, stay present and do what you love while you still can. We just celebrated our 10th anniversary at the restaurant last month, time flies!
What is your background and did you always want to be doing this?
I never thought I’d be a chef. My grandmother had a restaurant in Thailand for over 50 years, and my mother also ran her own restaurants but chef was never a career I thought I’d pursue.
In 2000, I came to the U.S. to pursue my master's degree in Organizational Management in Albany, NY.
What is behind your business name ?
Chang Thai is the name of my business. Chang means elephant and is the Thai symbol of happiness, friendship and good luck.
Favorite things to create?
I love to create new menu items and I love traveling so when I see or try something new I tend to bring it back home and create in my own way.
What are your sources of inspiration and creativity?
I love learning from others and am inspired by them and their creativity.
I think learning is never ending and it’s a good investment in your mind. It’s a competitive advantage in terms of business and also life evolving and change in a better direction.
What do you do when you feel you are in a rut?
I stay positive and think that everything has a solution as always and try to do the best for the better outcome.
What has been the most challenging part about having your business? What has been the most rewarding or fun?
Most challenging is to find the time and keep life balanced with work, family and such. The most rewarding or fun is to see our customers love and enjoy our food as much as we do.
Are you originally from New England? How has the New England community played a roll in your business?
I am not from New England, I am originally from Bangkok Thailand but came to the US for graduate school in 2000, then lived in NY for a while before moving to New England in 2007.
What are your favorite things about New England?
I love the people and culture, it’s the most beautiful place to live and has a wonderful sense of community. I enjoy all the seasons here, especially the foliage.
What do you think is unique about your business or craft?
My business is created with love. “Eat with Love”. It’s a reflection of my story of my sister and no matter how much I do I always think of her and her spirit just keeps me going in this business and many directions and I am so proud to share this with her everyday.
What other local businesses do you love that we should know about?
I love all my business neighbors in Littleton, NH:
Beer : Schilling Beer, The Beal House Inn , The Little Village Toy & Bookshop, One Stich Two Stich, League of NH Craftmen, Crumbum bakery (coming soon), Black Sheep Provisions, and Bella Funk Boutique. Just to name a few! We have the greatest entrepreneurs here in town.
What does the future look like for your small business? Any grand plans?
I think small businesses can get bigger and better if you keep developing and evolving by learning from your customer’s needs.
My plan is developing my products that serve my customers outside the restaurant and be unique and healthy.
Food is more than a meal; it’s how you nourish your body and soul. To me, food doesn’t have to be fancy. If it takes you back to a time in your memory or brings you closer to your loved ones, your food has fulfilled its mission. I love what I do and how it honors my sister’s spirit. She gifted me wonderful opportunities I could never have planned for. And because of her…… I COOK WITH LOVE!