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Chudaree “Tam” Debhakam

Chudaree “Tam” Debhakam

Chef and Owner, Baan Tepa

The grounds of Baan Tepa may not be as vast as the one of Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York, where she once worked as a sous-chef, but Chef Tam’s commitment to sustainable farming and culinary experimentation is no less admirable. The 28-year-old first came to our attention three years ago when she won Top Chef Thailand Season 1. Chef Tam’s culinary education began in the West: She graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in food science and nutrition and went on to study at International Culinary Center NYC. She worked at Jean-Georges, 11 Madison Park, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns. But after winning Top Chef, she became a student of Thai cuisine, traveling the country and learning about the food and ingredients from farmers and locals. Back in the compound of her grandmother’s house, Chef Tam started Tepa Garden, an urban farm that practices rotational farming and provides native varieties of herbs and vegetables to Tepa Kitchen, a 12-seat communal-table restaurant serving Chef Tam and her team’s interpretations of regional Thai cuisines. “My motivation lies in the passion that I have for good food — good in every sense, the production, transportation, nutritional quality.”