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Chef Pam of “Potong” wins Asia’s Best Female Chef 2024

Written by World Events

Pichaya “Pam” Soontornyanakij //Photo by

Thai gastronomic innovator and restaurant owner Pichaya “Pam” Soontornyanakij has been named Asia’s Best Female Chef 2024 in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards.

Pichaya said she wants her win to inspire young female chefs to break barriers. She will receive her award at the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants ceremony on March 26 in Seoul.

“Chef Pam has been serving up truly innovative cuisine and her tasting menu is a masterclass in paying heed to heritage as well as cultural storytelling,” said William Drew, director of content for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Chef Pam’s restaurant in Bangkok’s Chinatown is named Potong, which in Chinese means ‘simple’. It “blends tradition with avant-garde culinary techniques,” according to Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, which ranked Potong number 35 in Asia and 88th best in the world.

A meal at Potong is as much about the iconic, multi-storey building and the generations who have lived there as it is about chef Pichaya’s progressive Thai-Chinese cuisine. The 120-year-old building belongs to her grandfather, who lived there until he married in the late 1950s.

Potong’s building is 120 years old and was used as a pharmacy by Chef Pam’s ancestors.//Photo by Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants

As committed as she is to creating classic cuisine, Chef Pam is equally devoted to advancing women in her field. Partnering with the American Women’s Club of Thailand, she has started a scholarship for aspiring girls and women in rural areas to achieve their dreams of becoming chefs.

“This award goes beyond personal achievement — it celebrates my beliefs, respect for heritage, and a relentless pursuit to better myself,” Chef Pam said upon receiving the honor.

“May this accolade inspire young female chefs to break barriers and ignite grand culinary dreams. I believe that with passion and dedication, anyone can carve their path to success,” she said.

Potong’s signature duck dish pays homage to the chef’s Thai-Chinese heritage.//Photo by Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants

Thai Embassy in Washington DC wrote on its Facebook page that Thai cuisine has risen among the ranks of the world’s most popular foods during the past two decades. As tourism to Thailand exploded, legions of visitors spread the word about the delicious fare found in the Kingdom, from street food to haute cuisine.

In recent years, more chefs from Thailand have been making their mark overseas in Europe and the United States. Some specialize in new takes on traditional recipes, while others have pushed the boundaries with fusion food.

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