The Cambodia Chef Association team, riding high on the success of last year’s Pattaya City Culinary Cup where they took home silver, is determined this year to win gold at the competition, taking place from August 13-17.
Teams come from all over the world including the US, Australia and the Czech Republic, and this year there will be more participants than ever.
“Last year they had about 10 countries with 25 teams, but this year there’s going to be 12 countries and 29 teams competing,” says Victoria Angkor Resort and Spa executive assistant manager Chan Sophea, who is also a founder member of the association
Team Cambodia this year is headed up by Borei Angkor Resort and Spa executive chef Men Chamnan, returning to Pattaya for his second time. He will lead Pol Kimsan from Angkor W Group, Chou Sophorn from Victoria Angkor Resort and Spa and two chefs from Grand Soluxe Angkor Palace, Say Tumpho and Rin Ream.
Men, who has worked as a chef for 17 years, has a wealth of experience having worked in Raffles Hotel le Royal in Phnom Penh, and undergone training in Singapore and the Netherlands.
“Last year he got the silver medal. Now we have experience, and this year we don’t want the silver, we want to go and get the championship,” says Chan. “That is our target. We’re doing a lot of training now at the Victoria.”
“This year I think we have a very strong commitment to get gold.”
Teams will be expected to produce two salads, two starters, three main courses, one soup, two desserts and a cake, with a surprise element – certain ingredients will be concealed in a “black box” and not revealed until the last moment.
“They bring us the ingredients in a black box and only when we open it can we write a menu to give to the judges,” adds Men. “We don’t know beforehand.If you can-not work with this process you cannot win. Teamwork is important because you don’t have a lot of time.”