Nok Suntaranon

2023 James Beard Foundation Award for “Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic”

Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon’s travels as a flight attendant, as well as her international culinary background, exposed her to a world of flavors by the time she opened Kalaya in 2019. Since then, the restaurant named for her mother has thrust Suntaranon into the spotlight and made her a fixture in the culinary scene of her home, Philadelphia, and across the country. The restaurant features recipes which Suntaranon learned growing from her mother, who would sell curry paste in food markets in her hometown of Trang in South Thailand.


Kalaya was a 2020 James Beard Award Nominee for Best New Restaurant, and Suntaranon brought home the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic in 2023, her second time being nominated for the award. Kalaya was also named Esquire’s Best New Restaurant in America and selected as one of the nation’s best by Food & Wine magazine in 2020. After 3.5 years in business, Kalaya closed the doors to its original location in order to prepare for a newer, significantly larger space in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood, which opened in late November 2022. This September, Kalaya was recognized by The New York Times in their Top-50 Restaurants list for 2023.