Owner Jeff Virojanapa

Jeff Virojanapa

Owner of White Orchids Thai Cuisine and Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar

Jeff Virojanapa is a restaurateur who owns two restaurants with his parents in the Allentown, Pennsylvania area: White Orchids Thai Cuisine and Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar. Born in Skokie, Illinois, Jeff moved to Allentown with his family when he was two years old. Growing up, he spent every Sunday with his parents at different eateries around town and worked at local restaurants throughout high school, which sparked his love for the hospitality industry. He then earned a degree in Optical Engineering from the University of Rochester and worked as an Engineer in Tennessee and California before returning home to Pennsylvania to fulfill his passion for restaurants. In 2007, Jeff and his parents, who were both born in Thailand, opened White Orchids Thai Cuisine located at The Promenade Shops in Saucon Valley. Off the bat, the restaurant was extremely successful — so much so that the property owners asked the Virojanapas to expand the space from 2,000 square feet to 4,000 square feet. Over the years, White Orchids has remained a favorite amongst locals, winning the award for Best Thai Restaurant in Lehigh Valley from Leigh Valley Style every year since its establishment. In 2019, Jeff and his parents decided to open a second restaurant, and Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar was born. After exploring Thai cuisine at White Orchids for over 12 years, the Virojanapas wanted to embrace a different fare while sticking to their roots, which inspired an American menu with Asian influences. When speaking about his restaurants, Jeff says: “To me, going to a restaurant is a time to enjoy company, celebrate life, discuss opportunities, and ultimately enjoy great food. We hope you can come to our restaurants and do many if not all of these things.” Jeff currently resides in Allentown with his wife Becky and their three children.

Head Chef Pai Yaiprab

Pai Yaiprab

Head Chef of White Orchids Thai Cuisine

Pai Yaiprab is a Head Chef at White Orchids Thai Cuisine in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. He was born in Thailand where he learned the ropes of the kitchen, and after moving to the United States he began his role as a chef at White Orchids in 2013. At the restaurant, one of Pai’s main responsibilities is to ensure that the kitchen is running smoothly. When he is cooking, he loves to make Crab Fried Rice and considers it his specialty. As a chef, he loves seeing the happy faces of guests when they are eating the food he prepares. Pai also loves the people he works with, including his brother Pak who is also a Head Chef at the restaurant. Pai currently lives in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. When he is not in the kitchen, he loves to hike, fish, and practice meditation.

Park Yaiprab

Park Yaiprab

Head Chef of White Orchids Thai Cuisine

Pak Yaiprab is a Head Chef at White Orchids Thai Cuisine located in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. Born in Thailand, Park began cooking Thai cuisine at a young age and quickly developed a strong passion for food. After moving to Pennsylvania, Pak turned his passion into a career when he began working at White Orchids in 2013. When he is in the kitchen, Pak’s favorite dish to cook is Pad Thai. In addition to cooking, Pak controls all kitchen operations at the restaurant. Always motivated to learn and grow, his favorite thing about being a chef is watching himself and others improve. Born into a very close family, Pak works alongside his brother Pai who is also a Head Chef at White Orchids. Park currently resides in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, and in his free time he loves to visit all of the wonderful attractions in the Lehigh Valley area.

Sous Chef Rick Fornaciari

Rick Fornaciari

Sous Chef of White Orchids Thai Cuisine

Raised in Easton, PA, Rick graduated from the Culinary Arts program at Northampton Community College. His favorite part of White Orchids is working with the head chefs Pai and Park. While he enjoys cooking most of the dishes, his favorite one to make is the crab fried rice. When not cooking at White Orchids, you can find Rick enjoying his favorite outdoor activities: fishing and camping.

General Manager Byron Coons

Byron Coons

General Manager of Wisdom Restaurant Group, White Orchids Thai Cuisine, and Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar

Raised in Lower Macungie, PA, Byron has been with the White Orchids family for the past 10 years, working as a bartender, bar manager, and current General Manager of both White Orchids and Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar. Prior, Byron attended school at USC and spent two years abroad in China. Byron has vast years of experience in the restaurant industry; even in his travels, he has found himself in the industry in some facet. Throughout his experience working with White Orchids, Byron has been leading development of the beverage program, along with company culture, branding, and operations. Outside of the restaurant industry, Byron is an avid fisher, golfer, and enjoys spending his free time outdoors.

Manager Brian Miller

Brian Miller

Manager of White Orchids Thai Cuisine

Hailing from Dallas, PA, Brian’s very excited to be a part of the White Orchids team. Brian has worked in the restaurant industry for seventeen years, as a manager, beverage director, bartender and sommelier. Brian holds certifications as a Certified Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers, Certified Specialist of Wines, and a diploma from the Sommelier Society of America, as well as a Certified Beer server designation from the Ciccerone organization. He lives in Allentown with his wife, children, and shih tzu. When not working in restaurants, he’s trying unique wines, reading, traveling, and learning how to style his daughters’ hair.

Beverage Manager Neil Hemisoth

Neil Heimsoth

Beverage Manager of White Orchids Thai Cuisine

Neil Heimsoth was born and raised in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where he opened several coffee shops in his early 20s. Having developed a strong passion for the beverage industry, Neil was inspired to learn more in the field of mixology and earned a certification from BarSmarts, the acclaimed bartender education program. From there, Neil was hired as the Bar Manager at the popular Bookstore Speakeasy in Bethlehem where he worked for seven years before joining the team at White Orchids Thai Cuisine.

As Beverage Manager, Neil oversees the spirits program including menu development; when creating new cocktails, he turns to seasonality and local produce for inspiration. His favorite part about working in the beverage industry is that it allows him to be a part of people’s everyday routines and celebrations – whether that be grabbing a cup of coffee or toasting with a glass of champagne.

Neil currently resides in Bethlehem with his fiancee, and when he’s not reading the latest book about cocktails, he enjoys drawing, hiking, and spending time with his friends and family.

White Orchids Thai Cuisine

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