Joannes Riviere is moving on from his position as executive chef at the Hotel de la Paix and his deputy chef, Bryan Gardener, will take his place. For both men and the hotel, the move presents opportunities for exploring new avenues, especially for Joannes who is set to branch out on his own in Siem Reap.
“Things are still up in the air,” he said, but it’s clear that Siem Reap’s food lovers will soon have a new venue in which to appreciate the work of a man who received rave reviews for his menu at Meric at the Hotel de la Paix. One thing he is certain of, though, is that the ingredients will be sourced locally whenever possible, especially the fish. “Most of the restaurants in Cambodia serve snakehead fish, which is like the chicken of the Mekong. I want to focus on the others like catfish, or Mekong sole, which you can only get if someone catches it and then calls you up. These are very delicious fish,” Riviere explained.
Joannes will also be taking the opportunity to update the recipe book, Cambodian Cooking, that he wrote in 2008 in order to help raise funds for the hospitality training NGO, Sala Baï. He also wants a new book so he can focus more heavily on local ingredients.
For Bryan Gardener, the 29-year-old who will step into Joannes’ boots, and for the hotel, this is an opportunity to “explore new frontiers”, said marketing director Christian de Boer. “This is a time to be creative and innovative. I’m very excited about the possibilities,” he said.