Dining

Asia's Best Female Chef Has Just Been Announced

The Thai recipient follows in the footsteps of Hong Kong's May Chow and our very own Margarita Forés.
IMAGE ASIA’S 50 BEST RESTAURANTS
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Award season is in full swing and we’re not solely referring to the gold statuettes being handed away in Hollywood. Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants–one of the highly anticipated awards in the Asian culinary scene–just named Thailand’s Bongkuch “Bee” Satongun as Asia’s Best Female Chef for 2018. She follows in the footsteps of last year’s winner May Chow from Hong Kong and our own Margarita Forés, who held the title in 2016.


With no formal training, Satongun runs the acclaimed restaurant Paste in Bangkok together with her Australian husband, fellow chef Jason Bailey. Her commitment to traditional Thai cooking has led her to revive long-forgotten recipes and make use of rare ingredients. She began working at her family’s local restaurant before she partnered with Bailey and opened Paste in 2013. The fare at Paste puts a contemporary twist to traditional Thai flavors.

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“My dream has always been to introduce the world to an elevated version of Thai cuisine,” Satongun remarks. “While I am shocked to receive this award, it inspires me for the future.”

The organization that presented her with the title has long been honoring “inspiration and passionate women who demonstrate a progressive vision for gastronomy.” William Drew, group editor of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants further explains, “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.”

Satongun takes pride in her complex cooking. She once revealed that each creation at Paste consists of a minimum of 30 ingredients. Meticulous with her cooking processes, Satongun sources fresh produce locally, concocts her own curry pastes, and smokes her food using lychee wood, coconut husks, and coconut meat.

She most recently made the news after Paste was awarded a Michelin star last December.

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About The Author
Hannah Lazatin
Senior Staff Writer
Hannah is a communications graduate from Ateneo de Manila University. She’s originally from Pampanga and from a big, close-knit family who likes to find a reason to get together at the dinner table. Experiences inspire her. “Once, at a restaurant, I received an interpretation of my second name ‘Celina,’ and it meant 'someone who tries everything once' and that is me through and through,” she says. As for the job, she wants her “readers to be inspired by the stories of the people we feature and to move them to reach for greater things.”
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