Jay Fai, the septegenarian who’s revered street food spot Raan Jay Fai made headlines when it was awarded a Michelin star in the inaugural Guide to Bangkok, says she wishes she could “give the star back already.”
Speaking to Eater, Fai, real name Supinya Junsuta, said that since the news of the star was announced, “Many people come just to see and take pictures and not necessarily to eat.” People presumably want to get snaps of Fai in action, cooking in her own unique style complete with ski goggles and the odd hairdryer to fan the flames under her spitting woks.
However, there is plenty of demand for Fai’s famous crab omelettes and spicy noodle dishes, though it has always been one of the most expensive street food spots in the city, with the former costing around $25. Lines outside the restaurant in the city’s old town can stretch up to two hours. Fai’s daughter, Varisa Junsuta, says her mother, who works 11 hours day, is “getting tired more easily” as a result of all the extra attention.
She is the latest in a line of chefs wanting to relinquish their Michelin stars. Last year, three-Michelin-star chef Sebastian Bras wrote to Michelin asking not be included in the next Guide, as he felt the pressure of maintaining Michelin standards was stifling his restaurant’s creativity, while more recently another French chef, Jérôme Brochot, requested to return his restaurant’s star because he couldn’t afford the costs of maintaining a Michelin-starred restaurant.