Ian ChalermkittichaiEmber Room
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.
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.
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, Vogue Traveler, Gourmet Traveler, 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 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.