Bee Sa­tongun is Best Fe­male Chef 2018

Manila Bulletin - - Lifestyle -

Bongkoch ‘Bee’ Sa­tongun, chef of Paste restau­rant in Bangkok, has been named elit Vodka Asia’s Best Fe­male Chef 2018. Sa­tongun will be pre­sented with her award at the cer­e­mony for Asia’s 50 Best Restau­rants on March 27 in Ma­cau. The 50 Best or­ga­ni­za­tion is com­mit­ted to high­light­ing in­spi­ra­tional and pas­sion­ate women who demon­strate a pro­gres­sive vi­sion for gas­tron­omy. Wil­liam Drew, group ed­i­tor of Asia’s 50 Best Restau­rants, says: “This award rep­re­sents part of our wider en­gage­ment pro­gram aim­ing to pro­mote strong role mod­els who can in­spire fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of cooks. Chef Bee is do­ing just that with her bold and au­then­tic Thai cook­ing in one of the world’s great­est food cities.”

A self-taught chef, Sa­tongun honed her culi­nary skills while work­ing in her fam­ily’s lo­cal restau­rant. Since open­ing the orig­i­nal Paste in 2013 with her Aus­tralia-born chef hus­band Ja­son Bai­ley, she has com­mit­ted her­self to ed­u­cat­ing din­ers on the com­plex­ity, lay­ers, and re­fined fla­vors of Thai cui­sine. The cou­ple went on to open the cur­rent in­car­na­tion of the restau­rant in Bangkok’s Gaysorn Vil­lage luxury mall in 2015.

Ded­i­cated to hon­or­ing culi­nary tra­di­tions, Sa­tongun ref­er­ences cen­turies-old Thai cook­books to re­vive long-for­got­ten recipes and rare in­gre­di­ents. Draw­ing in­spi­ra­tion from royal Thai cui­sine, Sa­tongun brings an ar­ti­sanal ap­proach to her cook­ing. As well as sourc­ing fresh pro­duce from lo­cal grow­ers, curry pastes are made in-house and food is smoked with ly­chee wood, co­conut husks, and co­conut meat.

Renowned for her tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise and cre­ative flair, Sa­tongun cre­ates dishes that are de­fined by their au­then­tic fla­vors, con­trast­ing tex­tures, and at­ten­tion to de­tail. Striking a del­i­cate bal­ance be­tween tra­di­tion and in­no­va­tion, she rein­ter­prets tra­di­tional Thai cui­sine in a mod­ern con­text, com­bin­ing an­cient and con­tem­po­rary tech­niques along­side sur­pris­ing twists.

Ac­cept­ing the pres­ti­gious honor, Sa­tongun added: “My dream has al­ways been to in­tro­duce the world to an el­e­vated ver­sion of Thai cui­sine. While I am shocked to re­ceive this award, it in­spires me for the fu­ture.” Frances Gail­lard, in­ter­na­tional mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor for Stoli Group, over­see­ing one of the spon­sors, elit Vodka, noted: “Bee is a pi­o­neer­ing chef, not only among women, but in the culi­nary com­mu­nity over­all. Her non­con­formist ap­proach and master­ful com­bi­na­tions will in­spire the in­dus­try for years to come.”

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