A team of four Siem Reap chefs won the gold championship in the Mekong River Culinary Challenge 2014, the featured event of the third edition of the Thailand Ultimate Chef Challenge held in Bangkok May 21-25.
Long Bora, team manager, Ree Hotel chef and vice president of the Cambodia Chef Association said 29 teams from 13 countries competed in various categories showcasing their knowledge, skills and creativity.
The Cambodian team comprised Siem Reap hotel chefs Long Bora from Ree Hotel, Song Lak from Angkor Century Hotel, Sok Vicheat from Grand Soluxe Angkor Palace Resort and Huor Sopheak from Asian Square Restaurant. Long Bora said the Cambodia team scored 92 points, the highest score among the 29 teams, with Thailand coming in second with 90.8 points.
“We wanted to be the gold champions last year but we didn’t get it,” he added, “So this year all of us really had a strong commitment to win it for our country. I almost burst into tears when they announced that Cambodia won the gold championship.”
The food was critiqued by a panel of 20 judges, including ten World Association of Chefs Societies approved international judges.
The Cambodian team had trained for only two days before going to Thailand for the competition, and the team faced difficulties in finding some ingredients in Bangkok due to the political crisis, with some markets closed.
The Cambodian chefs naturally chose Khmer cuisine for the contest, adhering to the rule that all the contestants use only fresh water edible produce from the Mekong River.
The Cambodian team’s menu was: water lily with catfish and small shrimp salad; Mekong lobster balls with mango sauce; creamy green vegetable soup with diced fish; braised eel rolled tamarind and chili sauce; steamed frog amok in a watermelon cup; fried cubed fish with potatoes crushed with sweet mayonnaise sauce; and glutinous rice rolled with fish and Mekong lobster.
Hai Vuthy, Cambodia Chef Association president and executive chef of Victoria Angkor Resort and Spa said that on May12-15, a team of three association chefs headed by Ving San, executive chef at Grand Soluxe Angkor Palace Resort, also won a silver medal in Shanghai at the SIAL China International Top Chefs Invitation Competition 2014.
In July, the association will send five chefs to compete in the Pattaya City Culinary Cup 2014.