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Alumnus Thav Phouthavong
Diplôme de Cuisine

Thav Phouthavong attended Le Cordon Bleu London from 2013, graduating with a Diplôme de Cuisine in 2014.

In April 2023 Thav became Chef De Cuisine at 80/20 BKK in Bangkok, Thailand. Alongside his team he has retained the restaurant’s one Michelin-star for the Michelin Guide 2024. 80/20 has held its Michelin Star for the last five years.

We caught up with Thav to find out more about his culinary journey.

What made you decide to train in the culinary arts?

“I always enjoyed dining out at fine dining places and was always fascinated as to how the chefs could turn food into art. It made me want to dive deeper and find out how this was done. So, this gave me the drive to want to learn more about the Culinary Arts.”

Why did you choose to come to Le Cordon Bleu London?

“Le Cordon Bleu is, and will always be, known as one of the most prestigious culinary institutes in the World. And London is home. At the time, the London branch had just moved from Marylebone to Holborn. All the facilities were state of the art and new, so it only made sense to learn at the most up-to-date school.”

How did your culinary training studying at Le Cordon Bleu London help you to start your career?

“The basics. The foundations for cooking are what are needed to climb the ladder in this industry. Le Cordon Bleu London has amazing chef instructors who are very hands-on to make sure that you get the fundamental skills in your arsenal. ‘It’s key to know where you have been before you know where you are going’. Make sure you have all the basic skills fine-tuned; and you’ll go far in this incredible world.”

What advice would you give to someone looking to follow in your footsteps?

“DO NOT DO SMILEY-FACE POTATOES IN YOUR ADVANCED TERM! That’s an inside joke between the chefs of my generation and myself. Chef Anthony will know this well!

Keep your knives sharp. Always have a pen and notebook: ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’. Stay humble: never think you are too good. We can always get better. There is so much to learn and knowledge to absorb. Keep your head down and work hard, it’ll pay off. But, the most important thing: have fun! Enjoy the moments; create memories.”

What does Le Cordon Bleu represent for you in a few words?

“Foundation: The first stepping-stone into the vast world.”

How would you describe your current role?

“I am Chef De Cuisine at the one Michelin-star 80/20 BKK in Bangkok, Thailand”

How did you get into this role?

“Hard work and perseverance.”

What does your day-to-day look like?

“Admin, admin, admin! Be prepared to know that being a chef isn’t just about cooking. You are a manager and you need to overlook all facets of the kitchen.”

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

“People management. Having to deal with and manage different types of personalities; emotions. Keeping people motivated.”

What is your inspiration?

“The people around me, my team. You are the architect; they are the engineers. Keep them happy and it’ll show in the work you’ve put in together. Have a broader perspective and be part of the foundations that can lead them to great things.”

What part of the role are you most passionate about?

“Building futures. Whatever knowledge you have, pass onto somebody else. Be proud of what somebody else can achieve from being under your wing.”

Do you have anything exciting coming up in the future?

“At the moment, keeping the star for the foreseeable future and to have fun with my team.”

Inspired by Thav's journey? Find out how you can follow in her footsteps by finding out more about our Diplôme de Cuisine, or by visiting our programmes page to view the full list of courses available and start your culinary journey today.