Submitted by Meg Dickens
Members of the Johnson County Senior Center enjoyed a special treat on Monday, May 16. Prayoon Royston of Monsoon Thai & Exotic Foods dropped by to share her cooking knowledge and parables of her experience since emigrating to America. Approximately 75 seniors joined in on this activity.
Each participant learned how to create egg rolls according to recipes passed down through generations in Royston’s family. They also received egg rolls and chicken fried rice as refreshments as the mother of three shared her story. Royston’s egg rolls are in high demand, and she reports multiple restaurants have reached out hoping to serve them in their facilities as well.
“I built this place, and now people know me,” Royston explained, giving the credit to God for her success. “And I turned down 4,000 egg rolls last week because I have a restaurant, and I have five restaurants in Johnson City that want my egg rolls. They said put my name and put my face on it. They want my egg rolls, and I turn them down because it’s not about the money anymore. It’s because of Him.”
Royston was originally from Thailand and emigrated to the United States at age 22. From there, she built up her business selling authentic Thai food right here in Johnson County. Tragedy struck in 2011 when a tornado came through the area, removing the Monsoon facility roof. Members of the community came together to help fund the repairs and Royston had it running again only a few months later. The business has continued to grow, including the addition of a drive-through window.
“Our senior center members have shown interest in cooking activities and Prayoon was our first instructor since the pandemic and we are hoping to make this a monthly occurrence” said Senior Center Director, Kathy Motsinger.. This started with the Diabetes Awareness Month event in November 2021 and a diabetes-friendly dessert cooking class with ETSU will be on June 17 at 12 noon, and a four-week culinary arts class from Chef Travis Heath from JCHS Culinary Arts Department will hopefully be later depending on the center receiving the Arts Build Communities Grant once again.
The Johnson County Senior Center is a nonprofit organization that serves seniors 60 and older. Membership is free, and volunteers of all ages are welcome. For more about events, clubs, and classes, visit johnsoncountyseniorcenter.com.