Alumni Profile - Donnie & Peet
Bow Thai

Alumni Profile
Donald Quist & Pitchsinee Jiratra-anant

Donald “Donnie” Quist and Pitchsinee “Peet” Jiratra-anant are from opposite sides of the world.

Hailing from Gaithersburg, Md., and Bangkok, Thailand, respectively, their lives intersected at Coker College.

Donnie Peet

“Peet and I found each other at Coker, and it was there that we were handed the tools to map out our dreams,” said Donnie.

And the dreams of the now-married couple involved an empty building on Carolina Avenue, a Thai recipe book and a whole lot of work.

Donnie graduated from Coker in 2006 with a major in communications and a minor in English and is currently working toward his master’s degree in a low-residency program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Peet earned a degree in business from Coker in 2008 before attending the Wandee Thai Culinary Institute in Bangkok.

When Peet returned to Hartsville, the two began planning. The result? Bow Thai Kitchen, an authentic Asian cuisine restaurant that serves affordable, quality food and caters to everyone from Hartsville to Bangkok.

“It was always my dream to open my own restaurant,” Peet said. “And I learned how to successfully run one in my business classes at Coker.”

But Donnie’s dreams didn’t stop there. The 26-year-old restaurant owner is also a published author. “Let Me Make You A Sandwich,” a collection of short stories, is available online and at select bookstores.

“Coker taught me how to write and communicate effectively and think analytically,” said Donnie, who won the Writers’ Workshop of Asheville’s Author Contest in 2010.

Donnie first realized his passion for the written word when he served as editor for Coker’s literary magazine, Xcursions. The magazine features students’ creative works, including poetry, photography, short stories and visual art. While editor, Donnie learned lessons about the importance of deadlines, layout design, printing companies, themes and typeface.

“Coker was nothing but growth on all levels,” he said.

Currently, Donnie also serves as Circulation Coordinator for Coker’s Charles W. and Joan S. Coker Library Information Technology Center and is working on another collection of short stories and a novel. All the while maintaining a solid presence at Bow Thai.

“Whether it’s writing or cooking, being in business means having to sell not only a product, but myself as well,” Donnie said. “Being a business owner means having to survey a situation and choose the best course of action, and thanks to Coker, I feel I can do that.”

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