Bangkok-based chef Pichaya ‘Pam’ Soontornyanakij has been named Asia’s Best Female Chef for 2024. The announcement was made earlier in the week, recognizing Chef Pam’s culinary expertise, media presence, and ownership of Potong, a renowned restaurant in Bangkok that is known to infuse five elements: salt, acid, spice, texture and Maillard, a chemical reaction of reducing sugars.
The award, voted on by the 318 members of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, celebrates women in gastronomy who excel in their culinary skills, expertise, and artistry.
Chef Pam, known for her innovative cuisine and cultural storytelling, will be honored at the live awards ceremony on March 26, 2024, in Seoul, South Korea. This marks the first time the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards will be held in Seoul, with an extensive event program in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Seoul Metropolitan Government.
Potong, Chef Pam’s restaurant, reflects her Thai-Chinese heritage and is recognized for its 20-course tasting menu based on her 5-Element philosophy. The restaurant has received accolades, ranking No.35 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 and No.88 on the extended list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023.
In addition to her culinary achievements, Chef Pam is committed to empowering female chefs. She plays a pivotal role in organizations like Gastronauts Asia and Women in Gastronomy (WIG). Recently, she initiated the WFW (Women for Women) scholarship program to support female students in rural areas of Thailand aspiring to become chefs.
Expressing her gratitude upon receiving the award, Chef Pam sees it as a celebration of her beliefs, respect for heritage, and dedication to self-improvement. She hopes the accolade inspires young female chefs to pursue their culinary dreams. The Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2024 awards ceremony, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, promises to be a significant event in recognizing culinary excellence in the Asian region.