A native of Bangkok, Thailand, Preech Narkthong moved to the United States as a teenager and took his first job in 1966 in the kitchen at the then-newly opened Century Plaza Hotel. In 1983, ready to be independent, Narkthong opened his own restaurant, Marquis, which specialized in French-California cuisine and was located in the historic Wilshire District of Los Angeles. In 1996, a mutual friend introduced Narkthong to Chef Suzanne Tracht who had recently opened her first restaurant, Jozu, in West Hollywood. “It was the culinary equivalent of love-at-first-sight,” Tracht says of their initial meeting of a winning partnership that has continued for over two decades.
Together in 2001, Tracht and Narkthong opened the critically-acclaimed JAR. Tracht credits Narkthong for inspiring the use of Asian ingredients in her contemporary American chop house menu and introducing her to some of the unique components that give each dish its signature JAR touch. Narkthong’s presence is not so much an influence as an integrated part of Tracht’s style. In 2014, Narkthong instituted “Pop Up Preech” Mondays that offered his own seafood three-course menu and instantly caught the eye of the Los Angeles Times’ Russ Parsons who hailed Narkthong as JAR’s “secret weapon.”
Narkthong and his wife have one grown son and live in a mid-Century home in Sherman Oaks.