Admit it. You’re a voyeur, just like the rest of us, and you like nothing more than seeing inside people’s homes. Cable channels are packed full of shows that reveal how people — ridiculously rich, compulsively messy, freakishly neat — live. The money shot on Cribs, the MTV show that takes us into the homes of ballers, rockers, and starlets, is getting that lingering look into their fridge, because what tells you more about a person than what and how they eat? Forget basketball players and singer-songwriters, we want to know what’s in the iceboxes of Charleston’s rock star chefs, avid culinarians, and ethnic cooks. Surely they have better secrets than Red Bull and Cristal. We sent photographers Paul Cheney and Jason Kaumeyer out to capture what they could for this column, a recurring look behind closed doors.

Chef Suntorn Cherdchoongarm

Basil Thai Restaurant

Some chefs are so busy you don’t even see them because they are moving at 900 mph. Chef Suntorn Cherdchoongarm works inside the glass kitchen at Basil, one of the busiest restaurants on the peninsula. The Thai native’s cuisine is authentic and comes out consistent — and damn tasty — time after time. Basil owner Henry Eang helped with the language barrier as Chef Suntorn posed for his photographs. His kitchen was clean, simple, and active, like a home version of Basil. As we set up our lights, Chef Suntorn said something to Eang, who then asked, “Should Chef be in his chef jacket for the shoot?” The instant we said no, Chef vanished and reappeared looking like a suave Thai Magnum P.I. We get the shot we needed and then Chef Suntorn disappeared again, returning with two plates of ginger rice and chicken, a dish he enjoys frequently at home and wanted us to try. “It was a special only once at Basil,” explains Eang. The dish was magical, and the refrigerator was packed with a tantalizing array of Asian speciality items.

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