Chef Pongtawat “Ian Kittichai” Chalermkittichai’s

Chef’s Story

Chef Pongtawat “Ian Kittichai” Chalermkittichai’s path to culinary success

started from very humble beginnings in Bangkok. Every morning he would

rise at 3 AM to accompany his mother to the wet market to select the best

meats, seafood, and vegetables for her neighborhood grocery. While Ian

was at school, she would cook a dozen different types of curries. Upon his

return home, Ian would push a cart through the neighborhood to sell his

wares, shouting: “Khao Geang Ron Ron Ma Leaw Jaar!” (Hot curry

coming!).

After completing high school in Bangkok, Ian moved to London to study

English with no intention of becoming a chef. Fate seemed to have other

ideas though - while working part time at the Waldorf Hotel THF, the hotel

chef saw something of great promise in young Ian. Before long, the hotel

sponsored him to attend culinary school in London. He subsequently

completed his culinary studies in Sydney, Australia and then spent his

years of apprenticeship absorbing French fine dining cuisine at the famous

Claude’s.

In 1993, Ian decided to return to his homeland and work for the prestigious

Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok (formerly The Regent) as a Demi Chef. He

quickly rose through the ranks while mastering various cuisines and

winning acclaim in multiple international culinary competitions. His career

path in the Four Seasons organization took him to culinary exchanges

around the world where he was able to further perfect his talent and craft.

At restaurants and hotels such as Georges V in Paris, French Laundry in

Napa Valley, El Bulli in Spain, and Four Seasons Chinzan-so in Tokyo,

Chef Chalermkittichai was free to fully spread his culinary wings. In 1998,

Chef Chalermkittichai became the first Thai national in the world to become

Executive Chef of a five-star hotel property.

 

In 2001, The Bangkok Post dubbed him "The Golden Boy". He began

hosting the weekly cooking show Chef Mue Tong (The Golden Hand Chef),

which presently can be seen in over 70 countries.

In 2004 Chef Chalermkittichai relocated to New York and created Kittichai

Restaurant, in 2004. While Chef Chalermkittichai was at the helm, Kittichai

Restaurant appeared in Food & Wine magazine as Best New Asian

Restaurants 2005, Travel + Leisure magazine as Best New American

Restaurants 2004, as well as appearing in Harper’s Baazar, Vogue, GQ,

New York Magazine, New York Times, Gourmet Traveller, and Vanity Fair,

amongst numerous others.

In 2008 he left Kittichai Restaurant, formed his international food &

beverage management and consulting firm, Cuisine Concept Co., Ltd., and

opened the highly acclaimed Restaurant Murmuri (now closed) in

Barcelona, Spain. Currently his Cuisine Concept Co., Ltd. has some of the

most recognizable international hotels, restaurants, and food companies on

its client roster.

In January 2010 Chef Chalermkittichai opened Bangkok’s first gastro bar,

Hyde & Seek. In August 2010 he opened the celebrated Koh by Ian

Kittichai, his third signature Thai restaurant, located at the Intercontinental

Marine Drive Hotel, Mumbai, India. In February 2011 Chef Chalermkittichai

opened Ember Room, a progressive Thai comfort food restaurant, with

Chace Restaurant Group in New York City. In 2011 Chef Chalermkittichai

also created a signature menu series at the Intercontinental Hotel Abu

Dhabi. In June 2011 Chef became a partner in and the culinary director of

Spot Dessert Bar in New York City. In December 2011 Chef

Chalermkittichai debuted his flagship Thai restaurant and lounge, Issaya

Siamese Club, in Bangkok. Also in December 2011, Chef’s cookbook in

Thai, Chef Ian’s Kitchen Revealed, won the prestigious Gourmand Best

Chef Cookbook Thailand Award.

 

In January 2012 Chef debuted to a 15,000,000 fan following as one of the

permanent Iron Chefs on the Iron Chef Thailand television show. Also in

2012 Chef opened Smith, Bangkok’s first international “nose to tail” concept

eatery, Asian bun eatery, Jum Mum, on St. Mark’s Place in New York City,

and a second branch of Spot Dessert Bar in New York City. Chef

Chalermkittichai’s first cookbook for the English-language market, Issaya

Siamese Club: Innovative Thai Cuisine by Chef Ian Kittichai, was released

in April 2013. He is also a founding member of The World Street Food

Congress (http://www.wsfcongress.com/council.asp), along with Anthony

Bourdain, KF Seetoh, and Claus Meyer, amongst other culinary luminaries.

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Chef Pongtawat “Ian Kittichai” Chalermkittichai’s

started from very humble beginnings in Bangkok.