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On the food trail

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PASSION in a chef is a given, but for Supaksorn "Ice" Jongsiri, it was a calling that made him sink everything he had into a restaurant devoted purely to the cuisine of Southern Thailand, where he was born. It was a gamble that paid off, as his restaurant Sorn in Bangkok went on to earn two Michelin stars and made him one of the driving forces of Thai cuisine today.

In Friday's food-centric issue of Weekend magazine, we celebrate the craft of cooking, starting with the evolution of Thai food as more young Thai chefs rewrite the narrative of their traditional cuisine. We spotlight some of these talents who have found new confidence in their own heritage instead of following the conventional western route, and are raising Thai food as we know it to a new high.

While Thai chefs celebrate their own culture, German-born Thomas Frebel left behind a 10-year career at the iconic restaurant Noma in Copenhagen so that he could immerse himself in the culture of Japan. He now helms the Nordic-inspired Inua in Tokyo, with such a unique approach to Japanese ingredients that he faced initial resistance from local diners. We find out how he won them over and earned two Michelin stars in the process.

On home ground, we meet veteran restaurateur Martin Bem, a doctor of economics who gave up academia to pursue his own passion for food. The founder of casual German eatery Brotzeit and high-end microbrewery LeVeL33 talks to us about the ups and downs of the F&B business, especially during the current coronavirus outbreak.

We also visit a Japanese sake brewery in Kanazawa to see how a natural fermentation method works to create delicious rice wine; peek into an apartment designed for home entertaining; and feast on the fashion of Jane Austen and the food travelogues of celebrity chef David Chang.