Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Phnom Penh chefs join international culinary association




Phnom Penh chefs join international culinary association

Members of the newly established Cambodian chapter of the Disciples d’Escoffier, from left to right: Secretary-General Charly Guillo, President Richard Gillet, Treasurer Nicolas Olivry and Chairman of Disciples d’Escoffier Asia Robert Fontana. Photo supplied/Piseth Pen
Members of the newly established Cambodian chapter of the Disciples d’Escoffier, from left to right: Secretary-General Charly Guillo, President Richard Gillet, Treasurer Nicolas Olivry and Chairman of Disciples d’Escoffier Asia Robert Fontana. Photo supplied/Piseth Pen

Phnom Penh chefs join international culinary association

On Sunday, some of Phnom Penh’s top chefs were initiated into the newly formed Cambodian chapter of the international culinary association Disciples d’Escoffier – in a ceremony that included sashes with miniature copper saucepans, the handing out of diplomas and a little lighthearted paddling.

Founded over 60 years ago, the global association is named after the legendary French chef Auguste Escoffier, who is credited with codifying the foundations of contemporary cooking and technique in his 1903 publication A guide to modern cookery, as well as creating kitchen structures that are still used today.

“I think we have reached a culinary level that while not yet extraordinary can go beyond its current boundaries,” said Richard Gillet, the newly inducted president of the Cambodian chapter of the Disciples d’Escoffier, about local cuisine.

Robert Fontana, the chairman of the board of Disciples d’Escoffier Asia – who did the honour of smacking Gillet with the paddle to establish the chapter, before Gillet himself wielded it to initiate a dozen other men in white smocks – told members that that they need to think about how they can spread their knowledge to others.

“It’s not just one ribbon and one diploma you are going to put on your wall, no way,” he said. “You are going to be a team. Alone [it’s] impossible.”

With Gillet at the helm and Luu Meng, the director of Thalias Hospitality Group, as vice president, the immediate goals are to set up master class-style workshops for cooks and chefs every three months. Other members include Frank Sampere of Open Wine and Takeshi Kamo of La Résidence, among others.

“The aim is transmit know-how and to give opportunities to young Cambodians, before even thinking about their career, giving them the desire to learn about cooking,” Gillet said.

Also on the docket will be a cooking competition to award the “young talents of Escoffier”, which is open to chefs under the age of 25. The winner will then represent the Kingdom in Hong Kong for the regional competition and, if successful there, in France for the global competition.

“[Generally] all the competitions have been something where you get your diploma, you get your medal but you remain in Cambodia. Now you can take Cambodia abroad,” Gillet said, adding that “it creates doors, opportunities . . . [and] can create dreams”.

Martin Kobald, the vice president of the World Association of Chefs’ Societies, who was in town to judge a cooking competition hosted by the Academy of Culinary Arts and the Cambodian Chefs Federation, said the establishment of the Escoffier chapter in Cambodia is “a great addition” to the local culinary scene.

“We all strive for the same thing, to grow the culinary world, that’s really what it’s all about, and to promote our profession,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • Kingdom, China rebut basis for US sanctions

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Co Ltd (Tianjin) have responded to US sanctions on Union Development Group Co Ltd (UDG), a Chinese-owned company currently developing the sprawling $3.8 billion Dara

  • Influenza breaks out in eight provinces

    Nearly 600 people have been infected with influenza in eight provinces in the past month, Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said. The ministry is advising extreme caution. A report released by Vandine on Saturday said the Ministry of Health observed transmissions of influenza between August 15

  • CNRP activist freed; Sam Rainsy pledges return to Kingdom

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday released former CNRP activist Oeur Narith on bail after the court ended its questioning on suspicion of receiving money from abroad and plotting to overthrow the government, according to the authorities. National Police spokesman Chhay Kim Khoeun confirmed

  • Hun Sen says developing nations ‘targets of rivalry’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen spoke at the virtual UN General Assembly on Monday, saying that developing nations often become targets of punishment for their imperfections when they don’t rise to the standards of developed countries. He said rivalries between superpowers often hamper developing countries’