Tucson Thai chef Dee Buizer earns one of Thailand’s highest culinary honors

A Tucson chef just earned one of Thailand’s highest culinary honors.

The Government of Thailand selected Senae Thai Bistro owner and chef Dee Buizer to participate in the Thai Select Project and THAIFEX 2018 International Trade Exhibition in Bangkok at the end of May.

“Receiving this prestigious award isn’t easy — the requirement is set high and the guidelines are very strict,” said Kwanapa Phivnil, director of the Thai Trade Center Los Angeles under Thailand Ministry of Commerce. “Chef Dee and Senae represent everything we want to promote through our global program.”

With over 5,000 Thai restaurants in the U.S., Buizer was one of seven U.S. chefs to participate at THAIFEX; worldwide, only 32 chefs were chosen. Each year, THAIFEX attracts over 50,000 food and beverage trade guests from 130 countries.

“I’m so proud to bring this honor to Tucson,” Buizer said in a press release. “Being recognized this way by the Government of Thailand is both humbling and affirming as I’ve dedicated my career to serving beautifully presented, authentic Thai cuisine.”

In 2017, Buizer was recognized for her “authentic and creative Thai dishes” by the Department of International Trade Promotion, Thailand Ministry of Commerce with their Thai Select certificate, which was established by the Royal Thai Government aiming to certify and promote authentic Thai food worldwide.

Kao Op Sapparod at Senae Thai Bistro (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Kao Op Sapparod at Senae Thai Bistro (Credit: Jackie Tran)

“I’m very excited to participate in THAIFEX where I’ll also submit a recipe for The International Rice Recipe Contest 2018 (Rice Plus Award 2018) to compete for a Royal Trophy by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.” Buizer said. “I look forward to bringing new ideas back to Tucson.”

Buizer, a Bangkok native, opened her first restaurant Sweet Basil in Berkeley, California in 1987. In 2016, she opened Senae Thai Bistro downtown with her husband Jim Buizer.

Find Dee Buizer at Senae Thai Bistro, 63 E. Congress St. #121. For more information, call (520) 373-5335 or visit senaethai.com.

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He loves corgis and still thinks rickrolling is funny. If you'd like to stalk him, visit jackietran.com and his Instagram @jackie_tran_.