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Food excellence on display

121009_07
A chef prepares sushi at a restaurant in Phnom Penh. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post

The Cambodia Restaurant Association plans to hold a contest for restaurant services that is judged by a regional and international committee.

The association president, Van Porleng, said the competition aims to improve the restaurant services to be widely recognised by Cambodia’s soaring tourism sector.

She said 117 candidates are registered for the competition, coming from restaurants and hotels in Phnom Penh and other provinces such as Siem Reap and Preah Sihanouk.

She also disclosed that the judging committee consists of about 30 members, 20 of them are foreigners who served in restaurants and hotel associations in Singapore and Malaysia.

“The contest is for Khmer candidates only, but foreigners are on the judging committees. We will send the winners to join contests abroad if other countries hold international contests in the future,” she said.

According to the association’s website, the contest will be held on October 10 and has eight categories: bartending, barista and coffee marking, bed making, cake decorating, fruit carving, table setting, a ‘waiterthon’ and Cambodian national cuisine.

Phnom Penh tourism department president Tang Sochet Krusna said the restaurant service contest is vital for the development of the restaurant services.

So far, there are 363 restaurants in Phnom Penh and 70 per cent of those are of an acceptable standard and quality, he said.

“We are actively cooperating in order to make this service better because the tourism sector is also sharply increasing. We are working with ASEAN to update sanitation within restaurants,” he said.

Try Chhiv, secretary of the National Tourist Committee of Ministry of Tourism, said the ministry will send two under 22-year-old-candidates to join a contest in Indonesia on November 20.

One candidate is a chef and the other one works in the restaurant service, he said.

This is the first time that Cambodia will join and has a chance to win or at least get experience that will later be used to develop the hospitality school curricula in the future, he said.

“We took the categories [cooking and waitering] to practice at school; we hope the candidates can do well. This first time will help us obtain the experience. The lecturer who taught these topics expects to get good results for the country,” Try Chhiv said.

“When we pass we will reveal the standard of tourism in Cambodia. We can catch up through having good experience and design the course curriculum in these two subjects in the future,” he added.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rann Reuy at reuy.rann@phnompenhpost.com

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