Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai
- Mae Rim-Samoeng Old Road, 50180 Mae Rim, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Assistant Pastry Chef
Four Seasons Tenure
- Since 2023
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Current
- Bangkok Air Catering, Chiang Mai, Thailand; Khum Hom Café and Restaurant, Chiang Mai, Thailand; Anantasila Hotel, Hua Hin, Thailand; MRABET Bakery, Paris, France
- Certificate Analytics Professional Bakery/ Pastry at Vocational High School Les Cotes de Villebon Paris, France; Vocational Baccalaureate Bakery/ Pastry at Vocational High School Les Cotes de Villebon Paris, France
- French, Thai, English
For Chef Thanakorn Thongpa or Paul as he is fondly known, it was love at first sight, or rather first bite. He was all of four when his Thai family moved to France, a place that is synonymous with fluffy meringues and mousse, luscious cakes, and divine crème brûlée. Here, he spent all his time in the kitchen of his family-owned restaurant. “I remember helping my mum, exploring the many ingredients, tasting them, and even baking the first cake - a chocolate cake that turned into a chocolate fondant as it wasn’t cooked enough!” laughs Paul.
That small mishap, together with his favourite ingredient chocolate, triggered a lifetime passion in this chef, who made pastry his profession, all the while adding a sweet note to everyone’s lives. “I love to see people happy when they eat my desserts. Their reactions make my heart warm and fuzzy,” says Paul, who says he can travel any length for a warm pastry and a strong cup of coffee.
After serving as a commis chef at MRABET Bakery Shop in Paris, his career took him back to his homeland as he donned the demi chef’s hat at Anantasila Hotel in Thailand’s Hua Hin. “From creating a comforting treacle tart to whipping fresh cream over dense cake, making desserts help me stay focused, and remain disciplined,” narrates Paul.
This focus led him up the ladder with ultimate treats in store as he slipped into the roles of head chef and chef de partie at Chiang Mai’s Khum Hom Café and Bangkok Air Catering respectively. “Every time my cousin, who worked for Four Seasons in London, shared his experiences with me, I gazed at him – starry-eyed,” admits Paul. “I have always wanted to get a taste of the Four Seasons experience.” And his dream has come true he assumes charge as Assistant Pastry Chef at Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai.
Paul finds science in baking. Precise measurement, right temperatures, careful timing, and meticulous planning form a part and parcel of every item of confectionery. “That apart, baking involves art. You can blend eight elements and create a piece of art with chocolate alone – every bite triggering a unique emotion,” says Paul.
This chef with a saccharine personality is as focused as he is fun, as much an introvert as he is an extrovert. These traits drive him to experiment with new ingredients, fusing them together, using new techniques. “This helps me gain new knowledge and create my own pastries that can pique one’s curiosity and satiate one’s sweet tooth,” he explains, “I want people to remember me as the pastry chef, who created the most memorable box of joy!”