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  • Writer's pictureChomp Magazine

The Unstoppable Chef Pichaya 'Pam' Soontornyanakij of Bangkok's Restaurant POTONG

Bangkok's Restaurant POTONG
Chef Pichaya 'Pam' Soontornyanakij

In March 2023, Chomp Magazine had an interview with Pichaya 'Pam' Soontornyanakij about her passion, struggles and success. Achievement after achievement, this culinary expert, celebrated TV personality, and POTONG chef-owner recently did it again, achieving Asia's Best Female Chef Award for 2024. The award is voted for by the 318 members of Asia's 50 Best Restaurants Academy, and it celebrates women in gastronomy who persist in pushing the limits of excellence through their skills, expertise, and artistry.

Chef Pam will be honoured at the live awards ceremony on 26 March 2024. The 2024 edition of Asia's 50 Best Restaurants, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, will be held for the first time in Seoul's capital. The event programme collaborates with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) and the Seoul Metropolitan Government. The programme will culminate in the much-anticipated awards ceremony, where the 2024 ranking of Asia's 50 Best Restaurants will be revealed.

Bangkok's Restautant POTONG
One of POTONG's courses

Chef Pam refined her skills at the Culinary Institute of America and during a subsequent stint at New York restaurant Jean-Georges. Back in Thailand, she established The Table restaurant, a private dining experience that gained recognition from local and regional gourmets, as well as the media. She also owns Bangkok's multi-outlet restaurant, Smoked. Having secured multiple Young Chef awards, she even took on the role of an S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Judge in 2022.

Chef Pam returned to her roots with Potong, which offers a culinary reflection of her Thai-Chinese heritage. The restaurant's name translates as 'simple' and is a nod to her family's Chinese herbal medicines business. Housed in the ancestral building that once served as a traditional Chinese medicine pharmacy, Potong seamlessly blends tradition with avant-garde culinary techniques, offering 20 inspiring dishes in a tasting menu that embodies her 5-element philosophy of 'Salt, Acid, Spice, Texture, and Maillard Reaction.' Potong is one of the city's most lauded gastronomic establishments and ranked No.35 on Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2023 and No.88 on the extended list of The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2023.

Bangkok's Restuarant POTONG
Chef Pam smiling

Chef Pam's commitment to empowering female chefs is evident in her pivotal role with Gastronauts Asia and Women in Gastronomy (WIG). She recently started her scholarship program called WFW (Women for Women) together with American Women's Club of Thailand, a non-profit organisation, to support female students in rural areas of Thailand to achieve their dream of becoming chefs.

The Asia's Best Female Chef Award recognises outstanding female chefs across Asia. Previous recipients include Duangporn 'Bo' Songvisava from Thailand (2013), Lanshu Chen from Taiwan (2014), Vicky Lau from Hong Kong (2015), Margarita Forés of the Philippines (2016), May Chow from Hong Kong (2017), Bongkoch 'Bee' Satongun (2018) and Garima Arora (2019), both based in Thailand, Cho Hee-sook from Korea (2020), DeAille Tam from Shanghai (2021), Natsuko Shoji from Japan (2022), and Johanne Siy, a Filipina chef based in Singapore (2023).

The Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2024 awards ceremony, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, will be live at Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas in Seoul, South Korea, on 26 March 2024.


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