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COOKING AT:
Al Fuego

Earl Ninsom

EEM

Earl Ninsom was only 8 years old when he cooked his first dish: a simple rice-and-pork porridge he prepared for his mother when she fell ill. He hasn’t left the kitchen since. Today critics regard the Bangkok, Thailand-born restaurateur among the most talented chefs-restauranteurs in Portland, Oregon, where he helms a small empire of nationally acclaimed Thai restaurants — including EEM, Langbaan, Hat Yai and Paadee. Both the Oregonian and Portland Monthly crowned EEM as restaurant of the year in 2019, Langbaan in 2014. GQ ranked Langbaan second on its list of the “25 Most Outstanding Restaurants of 2015.” Hat Yai landed on USA Today’s “Top 10 Best New Restaurants” in 2016. Before opening his first restaurant in 2008, Ninsom — who holds degrees in marketing and economics — traveled the world pursuing a career in international business.

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