Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Young chef to represent Kingdom on international stage



Young chef to represent Kingdom on international stage

Khy Danea’s spread as she prepares for the Young Chef’s Olympiad in India.
Khy Danea’s spread as she prepares for the Young Chef’s Olympiad in India. Eliah Lillis

Young chef to represent Kingdom on international stage

In the kitchen this week of the KSK cooking school in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district, 22-year-old cooking student Khy Danea has been making an omelette.

But this isn’t just any omelette; it’s a specific recipe from the organisers of the third annual Young Chefs Olympiad, an international cooking competition sponsored by the Indian government for youths from around the globe that kicks off this weekend. It invites participants from over 60 countries to four cities in India: New Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore and Pune.

“I need to practise because it’s a competition with a lot of countries,” she says.

The first round of the competition is judged on the preparation of this omelette, for which Danea received the recipe last week, and has the chance to practise beforehand. It will be the first time she travels abroad, something she did not imagine when she first started at the school just a year ago.

“Before I didn’t really like to cook, but my family in Tbong Khmum wanted to open a restaurant so I learned, and I found that I felt really happy when someone eats my food and they say ‘oh it’s nice,’” she says.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Khy Danea in the kitchen. Eliah Lillis

A student at KSK for nearly a year, she was selected among a class of 40 some-odd students to represent the Kingdom. Her favourite dish: black jelly pork soup.

“I like to cook Khmer food,” she says.

But therein lies the catch. In India, Danea will be competing with a largely unfamiliar set of ingredients and will be cooking cuisines she is hardly familiar with.

“The food that they give us is not Khmer food; it can be European food, and I think it’s not easy for me to do European food, but I will try to do it,” she says.

“Last year our student was good, but again the European food, the European cake, was hard,” says KSK’s founder and director, Kek Sokkheng. This is the second time a student will go to India for the competition, a trend they hope to continue.

“KSK represents Cambodia, and we hope next year they will select us again,” she says, adding that she hopes the exposure could foster exchange programs with a cooking school in India in the future.

The Young Chef’s Olympiad runs from January 28 - February 2. Updates can be found at their facebook page.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and