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Adventures of a Cambodian sushi chef in Canada

On any given day in a busy Japanese restaurant in Canada, you can see a young Cambodian man concentrating on making sushi for his customers. His name is Prasoeur Suy and he has worked as a sushi chef at Niko Sushi for around 5 years.

Prasoeur is 23 years old and has lived in Canada since 2007. He graduated in April with a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design at St Clair College. He received a scholarship when he graduated from Catholic Central high school in Canada. But the scholarship only covered about one fifth of his college tuition; the rest came from his job.

The job isn’t what he had studied at university but it pays the bills, Prasoeur said. “I have a friend that worked there and he hooked me up with the job. I like the job and it pays better than others to support the cost of my living and study.”

Prasoeur thinks being a sushi chef is a creative job. “It is a fun job in a fast-paced environment. I like it because I can get creative with it and make beautiful dishes.”

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He stated that being a sushi chef is not hard but you have to like doing it. Making sushi is not a challenge. The real challenge is the amount of sushi that you have to make. He mentioned one roll in particular, called “Jamarica”, which is the most popular sushi in the restaurant.

He works evening shifts so he can have time during the day for school and projects. “It is frustrating sometimes because I don’t have enough time to do anything else other than school and work, but I try my best to spare myself an hour or two for Facebook and YouTube before bed.”

Sometimes for Cambodians who work in Western countries, they are likely to deal with stereotyping or discrimination. Prasoeur is lucky that this is not the case for him. “Half of the people I work with are Cambodian, including the boss, so there is no hate or discrimination in the workplace.”

He tries to visit Cambodia as much as he can, but he has no plans of coming back to live in Cambodia. “Life is an adventure and I bought a one way ticket!”

In this late September he is moving to Toronto to find a job in his field of study. At the end of the day, he wants to send a message to young Cambodian here that: “We only live once so make the best out of it! It’s so cliché but it’s very true.”



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