Today, 16 September 2022, the Academy of Culinary Arts Cambodia was honoured to receive a visit from French Chef Loïck Le Roux, Executive Chef at the renowned Palace Gate Hotel in Phnom Penh, to share his expertise and experiences during an afternoon workshop with the students.
With him came along Palace Gate’s Khmer Chef de Partie Nhem Samon, who will be accompanying Chef Mao Vanna, winner of the Disciples Escoffier Cambodia Young Chef Competition 2022, to the next upcoming Competition in Bali, Indonesia, in November 2022.
“Working alongside guest chefs brings additional value to the curriculum, provides students with a broader range of knowledge and it helps connecting them with industry professionals and bolstering their confidence to work in different kitchen sections,” explains Bruno Cardone, Dean at the Academy.
He adds that, “helping our students interact with professional chefs benefits all the parties involved. The chefs can see the caliber of students we are training here at the academy and build relationship for future internship placements and employment in their kitchens. For students on the other hand, it’s an opportunity to show off their teamwork and kitchen skills and ask questions.”
This afternoon’s culinary workshop indeed was very well attended by the students who were excited about this wonderful learning experience. Together with the guest chef they prepared a delicious fresh Tuna Tataki with a spicy
Ponzu Dressing adding to a refined Caprese Salad.
Executive Chef Loïck Le Roux to change one’s perspective on food in Cambodia.
With more than eight years in the Phnom Penh culinary scene, Chef Loick Le Roux describes himself as ready to change the game with his gastronomical inventions that are sure to change one’s perspective on food in Cambodia.
While today, he is confidentially sharing his expertise with the students, he remembers the challenges he encountered upon his arrival in the Kingdom of Wonder.
Being a chef passionate about designing new dishes, and experimenting with raw ingredients, he continuously strives to create one-of-a-kind specials, which can be a lot of hard work as he admits.
“Back in France, I used to work with a renowned chef who was also specializing in fusion food. What he did was applying French or Western cooking techniques on products from all around the world, like using laksa paste or masala curry.”
Here in Cambodia, I tried to apply the same and experiment with local dishes, infusing them with my own culinary ideas. But often times it wouldn’t turn out the way I expected, and in the end, I had to completely reverse my skills. I had to ‘throw away’ what I was used to and start again from scratch,” he said.
He adds that working closely with the Khmer staff and culinary students is crucial to him as their opinion really matters: “I need to know what they think of a dish – do they think it tastes good, do they like the ingredients, do they think I’m pushing the envelope a bit too far and things like that.”
At this point, he also expressed his satisfaction with the four ACAC’s students who are currently doing their internships with his team at the Palace Gate Hotel: “They seem more curious and open-minded than the average and also, not shy to express their opinions and contribute with their ideas. I’m very happy with their performances and I look forward to further working with some of them in the future”.