Interview with Hong Thaimee of Thaimee in New York City

Originally from Chiang Mai, Thailand, HONG THAIMEE is one of the most visible faces of Thai food in the US. As chef/owner of three NYC restaurants, she brings her true Thai flavors to a broad New York audience. She is a chef/entrepreneur, humanitarian activist, inspirational speaker, and ambassador for Thai food. Hong put aside a successful career as a model and business executive in Bangkok to come to New York. With a business degree but little kitchen experience, she talked her way into cooking jobs at Jean-Georges’ Spice Market and Perry Street restaurants, where she mastered classic technique for five years. She left Jean-Georges in 2012 to open Ngam in the East Village and focus on the Thai flavors of her childhood. The place (now known as Thaimee Table) quickly caught on, and was ranked as the Best Thai Food in NYC by The Village Voice in 2013. With her own restaurant as a base, Chef Hong grew substantial catering and education businesses, all driven by her desire to serve people and spread the word about real Thai flavors. True Thai, her 2015 cookbook with Rizzoli, captures many of those flavors. In 2017, she opened Thaimee Box, a fast casual spot, serving curry bowls and weekend tea. Her pop-up in Williamsburg topped many favorites lists. Soon after, she opened Thaimee Magic, a kiosk in Gansevoort Market, serving the Magic Noodles that took over social media and topped Zagat’s 12 Instagram dishes of the year list. Hong appears regularly in media and at events around the world. Her Iron Chef episode with Bobby Flay remains a crowd favorite, as do videos for Buzzfeed, Insider and Tastemade. In 2018, she will cook at James Beard House, The Culinary Institute of America, and at many popups with chef friends around the world. She will also appear on multiple episodes of Iron Chef Gauntlet and star in the new Kitchen Wars Thailand. (New York, NY)