From pushing a curry cart around the streets of Bangkok to an internationally acclaimed culinary star, Chef Pongtawat Chalermkittichai – better known as Chef Ian Kittichai – has certainly taken the gastronomic world by storm. This March, expect Chef Ian to tantalize your culinary palate at The Taste of Q8 at the gorgeous Marina Crescent! With the stunning backdrop of the Marina and views of Kuwait City, expect nothing but a beautiful ambience in a park setting for this highly anticipated, once a year culinary celebration taking place March 17-19, 2016.
In his youth, Ian would wake up at 3am every morning to accompany his mother to the ‘wet market’ to select the best meats, seafood and vegetables for her neighborhood grocery store. While Ian was at school, she would cook dozens of different curries for him to sell when he returned home. He would push a kart through his neighborhood, shouting “Khao Geang Ron Ron Ma Leaw Jaar!” (“Hot curry coming!”).
After completing high school, Ian relocated to London to learn English while working at the Waldorf Hotel THF. The hotel chef was so impressed with Ian’s dedication and expertise that the establishment sponsored him to attend culinary school in London, completing his studies in Sydney, Australia.
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 rose through the ranks and was soon attending culinary exchanges around the world where he gleaned experience at hotels such as Georges V in Paris, French Laundry in Napa Valley, El Bulli in Spain and many more. From 2001 to 2014, he hosted the weekly cooking show Chef Mue Tong (The Golden Hand Chef), which was broadcast in 70 countries. This, as well as his many other achievements earned him the nickname “The Golden Boy” in his home country of Bangkok.
Chef Ian has opened over fifteen restaurants in countries all over the globe in the past ten years. Some of his most notable are Hyde & Seek, Bangkok’s first gastro bar; Jum Mum, the first Bangkok international “nose to tail” concept in New York; and the flagship Thai restaurant and lounge, Issaya Siamese Club. With Chef Kittichai at the helm, the Kittichai Restaurant appeared as one of the Best New Asian Restaurants 2005 in the Food and Wine magazine. Many of his dining concepts have also been featured in Travel + Leisure, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, GQ, New York Magazine, New York Times, Gourmet Traveler, and Vanity Fair, amongst numerous others.
Four years ago, Chef Ian established Cuisine Concept Co. Ldt, an international food and beverage management and consulting firm. Currently, it has some of the most recognized international hotels, restaurants, and food companies on its client roster. He is also the founding council member of The World Street Food Congress, along with Anthony Bourdain, KF Seetoh, and Claus Meyer, amongst other culinary luminaries.
In April this year, Chef Kittichai was awarded the designation of Ordre du Mérite Agricole Officier by the French Republic for his outstanding contributions to gastronomy and agriculture.
By now you are probably hungry and wistfully dreaming about all the yummy delicacies that Chef Ian will have in store for you, so how about getting your hands on some tickets? It’s quite simple, because the good people behind The Taste of Q8 have organized the tickets in the most flexible manner: 3KD for adults, and free for kids ages 12 and under and an awesome three-day pass for only 6KD. Tickets will grant you a general admission entrance which includes access to all the features, including the 16+ Celebrity Chef presentations throughout each day, the Kids Zone, live music, 40+ restaurants to taste various cuisines from, the Farmer’s Market and the Grand Tasting Tent that will come alive with free culinary tastings and cooking tips. Admission also includes entry into the door prize draw, which will include a chance to win an interactive cooking school class with a famous Celebrity Chef.
For those foodies that want an extra special treat, a limited number of Meet & Greet entrance tickets will be available. These tickets will allow attendees to enter the Hospitality Suite and meet with the chefs, and get a Goodie Bag with the Taste of Q8 souvenir Apron and Cookbook. Meet & Greet participants will have access to all the Celebrity Chef sessions, following their presentations. Buy online starting February 1 at www.TasteofQ8.com. Several Meet The Chef Dinners will be scheduled in February and March. Apply online at www.TasteofQ8.com to obtain tickets to these very exclusive pre-events.