Taste Tour Guides - Teo
Meet Teo / Lead Guide
Teo was born in Laos, where she was a math teacher, but then had to escape from her country and lived in a refugee camp in Nong Khai, Thailand. There, she volunteered for the hospital and taught Lao and French. She arrived in Australia in 1978 and made a new life for herself. Teo has three children, all born here, and one of them, Debbie, is also a tour guide for Taste and helps her at home. Teo has been living in the Lao community for years and volunteers at the Lao Buddhist Temple Wat Phrayortkeo Dhammayanaram in Bonnyrigg. Coming from a family with eleven siblings, Teo is very generous with her cooking! She likes catering, gardening and teaching Lao dances and traditions. Teo started with Taste in 2012 and you may meet her on the Cabramatta Delights tour or catering for Food Faith Feast.
Why did you decide to join the Taste adventure?
One day, I was cooking for a New Lunar Year Ceremony at the Buddhist temple. Among them, there were SBS Food journalists who interviewed me about my volunteer work for the monks. There were also Taste Tours representatives who asked me to give cooking classes and this is how I joined Taste Tours. I was looking for part time job and thought this was a good opportunity to share my teaching skills and knowledge within the Lao community.
What skills, knowledge and opportunities has this experience brought you?
I learnt how to be a tour guide and I've improved my speaking and my English skills..
What are you enjoying the most about being a tour guide for Taste?
Meeting people from multicultural backgrounds and learning about cultural differences. Also, I like that Taste Tours provides something different, at a food level as well as a cultural level.
How do you think Taste makes a difference (both to the local community and the customers)?
The essential conveyor is meeting the locals. Indeed, people come from outside areas. They are interested in tasting new flavours, in learning how to use new ingredients, ingredients that are more authentic, but they also go to the tours to discover local towns, neighbourhoods, the history and culture of the people living there.
What else do you do when you’re not a tour guide?
When I am not a tour guide, I am a Lao dance teacher. Now I don’t really dance anymore but I like teaching! I also volunteer every week at the Buddhist Temple to cook traditional meals for the monks and visitors at celebrations which can have up to 200 people attending.
Could we hear one interesting story about you?
Once I went to have dinner with other people from Taste to an Indian restaurant. I don’t eat fish or lamb, and I thought they knew it, but they brought me this lamb curry dish. So I told them that I didn’t eat lamb and they said that they knew, but wanted me to try! So I had a tiny piece but for me it was so weird – I haven’t tasted it again after that.
A last word, what are your hopes for the future?
I like Taste Tours: I like cooking, the food, showing the people how to eat and make food, especially my country food, because it’s like my heritage. I hope I can keep being part of it.
What customers say about Teo
“The tour guides were both knowledgeable and friendly." - May 2016