People & Places

James Beard Foundation names Randolph woman 'best chef in the Northeast'

Nisachon "Rung" Morgan, chef of Saap in Randolph, won the James Beard Foundation's award for Best Chef in the Northeast. Morgan, who started the restaurant with her husband Steve Morgan in 2015, specializes in dishes from Isaan, her home region in northeast Thailand. Photo by James M. Patterson/Valley News

Randolph chef Nisachon “Rung” Morgan won the James Beard Award for best chef in the Northeast at a ceremony in Chicago on Monday. 

Rung and her husband, Steve Morgan, opened Saap, a Thai restaurant, in 2014. Rung, who grew up in northern Thailand, cooks almost every dish the restaurant serves. The rest of the staff consists of her husband, one waiter on weeknights, two on the weekends and a dishwasher.

Rung was among 20 nominees from the six New England states selected for the prestigious James Beard Award. In March, she learned she was one of five finalists, competing against three chefs from Portland, Maine, and one from Boston. The couple estimated that business at the restaurant has tripled since then. 

Last weekend, they packed their bags and headed to attend the James Beard Award gala in Chicago, at which both national and regional award winners were honored.

As she began her acceptance speech, Rung gratefully bowed to the crowd. “I want to thank my family in Thailand and my family in America,” she said.

With Morgan by her side, Rung also gave a nod of thanks to him as Saap’s co-owner and her partner. “I want to thank my husband for working hard with me every day,” she said.


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Lia Chien

About Lia

Lia Chien is a student at American University in Washington, where she is majoring in journalism and working on the student newspaper, the Eagle. A resident of Bolton, she also was the editor of the Profile at Mount Mansfield Union High school and comes to VTDigger as a Dow Jones News Fund intern.

Email: [email protected]

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