Potong's Chef Pam is Asia’s Best Female Chef 2024

She's also championing female cooks from underprivileged backgrounds.

Originally training to become a journalist, she turned to cooking and won a young chef award aged just 21 (All photos: Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants)

Pichaya “Pam” Soontornyanakij, TV personality and chef-owner of Potong in Bangkok, has been named Asia’s Best Female Chef for 2024. She will receive her prize on March 26 in Seoul. 

Potong in Bangkok’s Chinatown was No 35 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023. Offering food reflective of Pam’s Thai-Chinese roots and housed in the ancestral building that served as a traditional Chinese medicine pharmacy, the setup, whose name literally means “ordinary” in Chinese, is a nod to her family’s herbal medicines business.

“My grandfather and my parents took me to see the place where my ancestors did Chinese medicine,” recalls Pam. “I was drawn to it — my grandfather’s stories were very touching and I could feel my connection with the building. I could imagine people living there.”


Potong’s building is 120 years old and was used as a pharmacy by Chef Pam's ancestors

The Best Female Chef accolade celebrates “women in gastronomy who persist in pushing the limits of excellence through their skills, expertise and artistry”. It was voted for by the 318 members of
Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy.

Pam spent her formative years in her home city and honed her skills at the Culinary Institute of America before completing a stint at New York’s Jean-Georges. Back in Bangkok, she set up The Table, famed for its fine dining menu, and also owns Smoked, a multi-outlet restaurant.

Find out more about Pam in the video below:

This article first appeared on Feb 12, 2024 in The Edge Malaysia.


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