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An Upper Valley chef won a James Beard Award for her Isaan Thai cuisine

Nisachon Rung Morgan
Chef Nisachon Rung Morgan said she brings a lot of influences from growing up in Thailand to her menu at Saap.

Chef Nisachon Rung Morgan draws customers from New Hampshire, Vermont and beyond to her restaurant Saap in Randolph, Vermont. And now, she’s earned one of the culinary world’s most prestigious honors: She was recently named the Best Chef in the Northeast by the James Beard Foundation.

Morgan, who was one of five regional chefs named as finalists for that award, is from the northern Isaan region of Thailand. She moved to New England in 2010, and has owned and operated Saap with her husband since 2014.

Morgan said she brings a lot of the influences from growing up in Thailand to her menu at Saap.

“I cook Isaan food,” she said. “My family cooks BBQ chili, BBQ chicken [and] sticky rice [back home].”

Morgan and her husband traveled to Chicago for the James Beard Awards ceremony Monday night. All Things Considered Host Julia Furukawa interviewed Morgan just hours before the winners were announced.

“It’s a very big deal,” Morgan said. “It’s very big for me.”

Julia Furukawa is the host of All Things Considered at NHPR. She joined the NHPR team in 2021 as a fellow producing ATC after working as a reporter and editor for The Paris News in Texas and a freelancer for KNKX Public Radio in Seattle.
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