Wichian Trirattanavatin, known as Lek, is Saan’s head chef.

Lek was born in Thailand into a hugely food- focused family and learned to cook with his grandmothers from a very young age.

He’s the third generation of his family to become a chef, and after his childhood instruction in cooking, he went on to train at Bangkok’s prestigious Dusit Thani Palace College (now Le Cordon Bleu Dusit).

After working as a chef at a number of hotels in Thailand, he moved to New Zealand in 2001. In 2010, he joined the Comensa Group’s Café Hanoi, then in 2015 became the inaugural head chef of Ponsonby Road’s Saan restaurant.

Lek loves introducing New Zealanders to traditional Thai cuisine, particularly dishes from the Lanna (Northern) and Isaan (North Eastern) regions. He’s passionate about the fantastic produce we have access to in New Zealand, and showcases the country’s best ingredients to best effect in Saan’s beautifully composed dishes. Saan’s menu is grounded in ancient recipes handed down through Lek’s family, though given a contemporary spin.

Lek is a firm believer in the importance of eating together as friends and family, and Saan’s shared-style dishes aim to bring people together to enjoy great food and each other’s company.