Piyarat Potha Arreeratn, known to most simply as Chef Bee, was born in the small town of Ban Sankhohiang, located in the Chiang Rai province in Northern Thailand, bordering Laos and Myanmar. Born to farmers, he developed an appreciation for culinary early on from his mother who taught him everything from growing his own food, the different techniques of preserving and preparing food, as well as the vast array of flavors within the Northern Thai culture.
Chef Bee spent his childhood summers at his grandparents’ home in the nearby village of Ban San Macade, where under his entrepreneurial grandmother’s guidance he also learned the art of making “Jin Som” (marinated pork), “Kab Muu” (crispy pork rinds) and “Rang Nok” (sweet caramel shredded taro) – Thai street food that she traded and sold at the local village market.
At the age of 18, prior to having earned his Chef title, Bee came to America from Thailand to study at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. After his study at UCF, Chef Bee decided to moved to Miami where he pursued his passion for cooking. Having no formal experience, he worked his way up the ladder, getting his start in the restaurant industry as a dishwasher, a busboy, and a foodrunner at several Miami area restaurants before landing a sushi chef position at Nobu, the Miami outpost of famed Chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa inside the Shore Club. While training under the tutelage of some of the country’s finest chefs, it was here that he truly learned what it took to run kitchen and maintain the highest standards.
Following Nobu, Bee went on to work under Chef Kevin Cory at Siam River before opening his own restaurant, Oishi Thai, in 2005 on Miami’s Biscayne Boulevard. Oishi which means “delicious,” quickly became a favorite of diners and critics alike including being named to the Miami New Times “Best of Miami” list in its first year, CitySearch’s Best Miami Thai Food, garnering a number one rating in Zagat Guide and three and a half stars from the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
Pictured above are some of my favorite dishes from Oishi Thai. I hope you enjoy your experience as much as I have several times over the past few years.