The first cooking school to offer internationally recognised associate degrees in culinary arts will begin classes next month.
A project spearheaded by Swiss foundation Shift 360, the Academy of Culinary Arts will run a two-year program for students in both Asian and European cuisine in partnership with a range of ministries and private sector associations, including the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Education and the Cambodia Hotel Association.
One of the instructors, Kim Matang, has worked in restaurants in Siem Reap since 2002, after working in the food industry in the Gulf. At a presentation last weekend, Matang displayed his chicken satay, mung bean custard and prahok katis-stuffed cucumber and salmon for visitors. At the event, he explained his ambitions for the school.
“I do hope that the chef career becomes a big market in Cambodia and that people understand the rules for making food that are up to standards with healthy ingredients,” he said. “That’s the first basic rule to cooking good food from the heart.”
Nicole Loretan, the sales and marketing manager for the academy, explained that while it is one of many cooking schools in Cambodia, its adherence to internationally recognised standards, and the length of its program, sets it apart.
“The institution has a strong alliance with hotel and restaurants, which could provide students with opportunities for internships, on-the-job training and guaranteed job placements after graduation,” she said.
Students will have three choices: a two-year diploma, short-term courses and skills training. The full program will cost Cambodian students just over $3,000, while foreigners will be charged more than $6,500.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Swiss Hotel Management Academy Lucerne (SHL) is leading the project and that the company is partly owned by the Swiss government. The company is a technical partner on the project and is a private enterprise. The article also incorrectly stated that only the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Education are involved as partners. A range of ministries and private sector partners are involved.