Chef Danai’s Spiced Squash Soup

Chef Danai’s Spiced Squash Soup Recipe

Food is the foundation for Chef Danai Hongwanishkul, Executive Chef at Notch8 Restaurant at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Born in Bangkok, Thailand, Chef Danai moved to Paris, France young in life and eventually moved with his family to Toronto where they set roots in the bustling city life.

With Toronto’s large Caribbean population, Danai grew up surrounded by many Jamaican and Trinidadian restaurants. Close to his high school was one particular Jamaican restaurant which served a squash and pumpkin soup, with salt beef and dumplings. Danai enjoyed this soup so much that when he asked them for the recipe, they brought him into the kitchen and taught him how to make it.

This recipe is a variation of the soup that Danai fell in love with in Toronto, minus the salt beef and dumplings.


  • 4 cups Butternut Squash (roughly cut into 1/2 inch squares)
  • 1 Tbsp Ginger (finely chopped)
  • 4 Tbsp Garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 cups Onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 Scotch Bonnet Chili
  • 1 Tsp All Spice
  • 1 Tsp Dry Thyme
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tsp Ground Coriander
  • 8 Cups Water
  • Salt (To taste)

Sweat the onion, garlic, scotch bonnet, and ginger in a medium pan over a medium heat.

Add the spices to the pan and stir until fragrant (about 30 seconds)

Add in the butternut squash and water, stir well to combine, and simmer until the squash can be easily pierced with a fork.

Once the butternut squash is tender, purée everything while hot using a standing or immersion blender.

Season with salt as needed.

For restaurant quality smoothness, pass the puréed soup through a fine chinois strainer.


The soup can be garnished with any of the following to help cut through the spiciness of the scotch bonnet chili:

  • Drizzle of honey
  • Yogurt
  • Torn Cilantro leaves
  • Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

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