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Chumpol Jangprai

WHY HIM? This for­mer culinary di­rec­tor for the up­scale Anan­tara group of ho­tels be­came a bona fide celebrity af­ter ap­pear­ing on two sea­sons of the TV se­ries Iron Chef Thai­land in 2012. Ear­lier this year he opened R.haan, a Bangkok restau­rant that serves tra­di­tional Thai cui­sine based on cen­turies-old recipes. The menu changes every four months in keeping with his com­mit­ment to us­ing sea­sonal pro­duce. In ad­di­tion to his role as co-founder and ex­ec­u­tive chef of R.haan, Chumpol is a culinary con­sul­tant for the Singha Cor­po­ra­tion, runs the highly re­garded MSC Thai Culinary School and works with Thai­land’s Min­istry of Tourism and Sports to pro­mote food tourism to his coun­try.

Noror Somany Steppe

WHY Her? As founder and ex­ec­u­tive head chef at the Blue Ele­phant Group, Nooror is the pro­pri­etor of an up­scale Thai food empire that en­com­passes six Blue Ele­phant restau­rants around the world, from Paris to Brus­sels to Bangkok. Nooror also runs a cook­ing school and pro­duces her own line of meal kits and pack­aged sauces un­der the la­bel Blue Ele­phant Royal Thai Cui­sine. NEXT ON HER PLATE Nooror’s lat­est venture, Thai Brasserie by Blue Ele­phant, is set to open in Phuket in Jan­uary. Nooror plans to ex­pand this more ca­sual din­ing con­cept into a fran­chise.

Chotipong Leenu­tapho ng

WHY HIM? Choti, as he is known, took a big risk when he walked away from his fam­ily’s au­to­mo­tive com­pany to fol­low his culinary pas­sions, but the move has paid off. In 2014, he founded the Bangkok cock­tail bar Ves­per, which has ranked among Asia’s 50 Best Bars since 2016. He also es­tab­lished the Por­tuguese restau­rant Il Fumo, which ranked ninth in the Thai­land Tatler Best Restau­rants 2018 din­ing guide. Late last year he opened the pasta bar La Dotta and re­cently launched Via Maris, a restau­rant serv­ing Mediter­ranean cui­sine. He also works closely with on­line fundraiser So­cial­, en­sur­ing a per­cent­age of rev­enue from his bar and restau­rants is do­nated to char­ity.

Varatt VichitVadakan (Tae)

WHY HIM? Cof­fee con­nois­seur Tae has cre­ated an empire of brunch spots and ar­ti­san cof­fee shops across Thai­land. He is the founder of Think Beyond Com­pany, the din­ing group re­spon­si­ble for pop­u­lar cafes such as Roast, Roots, Ocken, Daily Roast and The Com­mons. With a par­tic­u­lar pas­sion for all things lo­cal, his mis­sion at spe­cialty cof­fee chain Roots is to show­case the best home-grown cof­fee from sin­gle ori­gin beans pro­duced across Thai­land. Fur­ther­more, part of the profit from every cup of cof­fee sold goes to the farm­ers and pro­ces­sors to im­prove their liveli­hoods and com­mu­ni­ties.

Chudaree Debhakam

WHY Her? Known as chef Tam, Chudaree was the win­ner of the first sea­son of Top Chef Thai­land and has since be­come a well-known fig­ure on the na­tion’s culinary land­scape. An advocate of the farm-totable food phi­los­o­phy and pas­sion­ate about curb­ing food waste, she or­gan­ises pop-up events with some of Bangkok’s best­known restau­rants for which she cre­ates in­no­va­tive menus us­ing sea­sonal, lo­cal pro­duce. Th­ese exclusive gath­er­ings fea­ture video and sound pre­sen­ta­tions that al­low guests to see where their food has come from and how it has been pre­pared. Chef Tam stud­ied nu­tri­tion and food sci­ence and is in­ter­ested in show­cas­ing how food can help pre­vent dis­ease.

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