Jay Fai, Bangkok’s queen of the wok, has been awarded the 2021 Icon award by Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.
Tim Brooke-Webb, managing director of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, made the official announcement via Instagram.
The one-woman show began cooking over 50 years ago with her family before opening her now Netflix-famous spot in the 1980s.
Her menu then consisted of family recipes passed on from her mother, who, according to Jay Fai, once told her she could never make it as a real cook.
With a penchant for creating new recipes and proving her mother wrong, she soon developed her own unique style and shifted her focus to seafood and sourcing only top-quality ingredients, which led to higher prices than an average street food stall. What has set her apart from the rest, however, is arguably the fact she is the only cook, holding court over a fiery wok every night in her black goggles and beanie.
Jay Fai, however, is no stranger to the limelight. Since her restaurant was awarded a Michelin star in 2017, she has become an international superstar, creating menus for first-class Thai Airways passengers and traveling to Copenhagen to cook her signature crab omelet at MAD, Noma chef Rene Redzepi’s culinary symposium. She also starred in the popular Netflix series “Street Food: Asia” from the makers of “Chef’s Table.”
Praise has poured in from across the world, as well as from Bangkok’s top culinary figures, like Le Du chef Thitid “Ton” Tassanakajohn.