Manila Bulletin

Bee Satongun is Best Female Chef 2018


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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