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.”