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50 Best LogoIn a stunning revelation that underscores the dynamic prowess of women in the culinary world, Pichaya ‘Pam’ Soontornyanakij, the mastermind behind Bangkok’s Potong, has been named Asia’s Best Female Chef for the year 2024. This prestigious accolade, determined by the discerning votes of the 318 members belonging to Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, not only celebrates the unparalleled dedication and innovation female chefs bring to the gastronomic arena but also marks Chef Pam’s indelible impact on the culinary landscape.

The announcement, eagerly awaited by the global culinary community, sets the stage for the live awards ceremony in Seoul on March 26, 2024. This event, a first for the city, promises to be a grand affair, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) and the Seoul Metropolitan Government, and the sponsorship of esteemed brands S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna.

William Drew, the Director of Content for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, lauded Chef Pam’s visionary approach to cuisine. “Her tasting menu,” Drew remarked, “is a masterclass in paying homage to one’s heritage through culinary storytelling.” This innovation and her influential presence in Thailand’s culinary scene underscore her deserving nature of this honour.

Potong, a name symbolizing simplicity, is a canvas for Chef Pam’s culinary philosophy. It reflects her Thai-Chinese heritage and pays tribute to her family’s heritage in Chinese herbal medicines. Situated in the ancestral building once home to a traditional Chinese medicine pharmacy, Potong marries tradition with avant-garde culinary techniques. The restaurant offers a tasting menu of 20 dishes, each embodying Chef Pam’s 5-Element philosophy: Salt, Acid, Spice, Texture, and the Maillard Reaction. This approach has captivated the palates of diners and secured Potong’s place as one of Bangkok’s most acclaimed restaurants, 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.

Beyond her culinary achievements, Chef Pam has been a stalwart supporter of female empowerment in gastronomy. Through her involvement with Gastronauts Asia and Women in Gastronomy and the inception of her scholarship program WFW (Women for Women) in collaboration with the American Women’s Club of Thailand, she has tirelessly worked to support female students in rural Thailand. This endeavour aims to enable these young women to pursue their culinary dreams, showcasing Chef Pam’s commitment to fostering a new generation of female culinary talent.

Reflecting on her accolade, Chef Pam shared, “This award transcends personal achievement. It symbolizes my respect for heritage, continuous self-improvement, and the collective aspiration of young female chefs to surpass boundaries and realize their culinary dreams.” Her message is clear: passion, coupled with dedication, paves the way for success, serving as a beacon of inspiration for women worldwide to carve their niches in the culinary domain.

In receiving Asia’s Best Female Chef Award 2024, Chef Pam not only cements her legacy within the gastronomic community but also highlights the vital role of women in shaping the future of culinary excellence. Her story, a blend of respect for tradition and relentless pursuit of innovation, is a testament to the power of determination and the beauty of culinary artistry.




Written by: Soo James