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, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, on March 27, 2018, in Macao.
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, said: “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, Satongun 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, she 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 honour, the chef 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 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. As a spirit that prioritizes the finest ingredients, elit Vodka congratulates Bee – a rare talent whose patience produces dishes with unmatched personality.”
About the award
The elit Vodka Best Female Chef awards programme, which features as part of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, and Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants, celebrates and rewards successful women who have risen to the top of the gastronomic world.
- Previous holders of the Asia’s Best Female Chef title include Duangporn “Bo” Songvisava from Thailand (2013), Lanshu Chen from Taiwan (2014), Hong Kong’s Vicky Lau (2015), Margarita Forés of the Philippines (2016), and May Chow from Hong Kong (2017)
- Winners of The World’s Best Female Chef Award include Ana Roš, Dominique Crenn, Hélène Darroze, Elena Arzak and Anne-Sophie Pic
- In Latin America, the title has been held by chefs Leonor Espinosa, Kamilla Seidler, Roberta Sudbrack, Elena Reygadas, and Helena Rizzo
- Since the award’s inception, 17 female chefs have been honored overall, using the platform to help promote positive ideas and progressive practices
How Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list is compiled
The list is created from the votes of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, an influential group of over 300 leaders in the restaurant industry across Asia, each selected for their expert opinion of Asia’s restaurant scene. The panel in each region is made up of food writers and critics, chefs, restaurateurs and highly regarded gastronomes. Members list their choices in order of preference, based on their best restaurant experiences of the previous 18 months. There is no pre-determined checklist of criteria, but there are strict voting rules.
For the 2018 edition, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants is once again working with professional services consultancy Deloitte as its official independent adjudication partner to ensures that the integrity and authenticity of the voting process and the resulting list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants are protected.