A Thai Chef Heads Home for a Challenge


By Tejal Rao

June 12, 2018

BANGKOK — It was close to 2 a.m., and Pim Techamuanvivit couldn’t sleep. So, like a tenacious detective, she taped huge sheets of white paper to her hotel room wall and covered them in color-coded sticky notes, charting out her clues.

The case at hand: Devising a new menu for Nahm, the internationally acclaimed Thai fine-dining restaurant.

She shuffled dish names into clusters, aiming for a variety of flavors and techniques, imagining the pace at which family-style plates would be set on the table, then cleared. She moved the notes around, again and again, writing new ones in a mixture of Thai and English.

Ms. Techamuanvivit lives in San Francisco and opened her first restaurant, Kin Khao, at the edge of the Tenderloin in 2014. She was recently tapped to lead Nahm by the Singaporean business mogul Christina Ong, and for more than a month she has been living in this suite, 11 stories above the restaurant in the Metropolitan Hotel, in the Sathorn district of Bangkok.