Family is a key ingredient in the success of Columbia's Baan Sawan Thai Bistro. Chef Alex Suaudom du Monde deftly leads culinary operations, but his parents are integral, too, assisting in the kitchen and running things front of house. His brother, Sam Suaudom, has built a top-notch wine program. This allows Suaudom du Monde to keep his focus right where he wants it - on the food. Lovers of Thai cuisine thrill to his creations, which blend tradition with exciting new twists. After nearly two decades serving up fine Thai dishes, this is one chef who continues to generate buzz on the food scene - a tough achievement in an ever-fluctuating industry.
Suaudom du Monde is a master of deconstructing classic Thai dishes, sometimes adding surprising elements from French, Southern and other cuisines, then pulling it all together using modern techniques. Duck-fat matzo ball soup anyone? Artful presentations are a must and have become one of the hallmarks of Baan Sawan.
The Washington, DC-born Suaudom du Monde was just a toddler when his family relocated to South Carolina. His father had an interest in the restaurant industry and enjoyed opening eateries. In 1999, just a few years after he graduated from the University of South Carolina, Suaudom du Monde and his family envisioned a new concept in Thai dining. The idea for Baan Sawan was conceived and became a family project. After lots of hard work and preparation, the restaurant was up and running, garnering favor with diners and food critics alike. Suaudom du Monde and family offered Columbia something it had never seen: An upscale, intimate Thai dining experience that still stands out in the Midlands' dining scene.