The 50 Best organisation, supported by elit® Vodka, 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, says: “This award represents part of our wider engagement programme 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 flavours 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 honouring culinary traditions, Satongun references centuries-old Thai cookbooks to revive long-forgotten recipes and rare ingredients. Drawing inspiration from royal Thai cuisine, Satongun 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 flavours, contrasting textures and attention to detail. Striking a delicate balance between tradition and innovation, Satongun reinterprets traditional Thai cuisine in a modern context, combining ancient and contemporary techniques alongside surprising twists.
Accepting the prestigious honour, Satongun 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 prioritises the finest ingredients, elit® Vodka congratulates Bee – a rare talent whose patience produces dishes with unmatched personality.”