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Cambodia’s rising culinary talents will come to the fore on December 4th. In collaboration with a consortium of American Food producers, the Academy of Culinary Arts Cambodia (ACAC) is inviting professional Cambodian chefs aged 25 and under to show their skills using select sundries and produce from the States. And Thalias is delighted to have budding talents Rim Sovourn, Kon Vanna, and Chea Vannak entering the contest; eager to display their extraordinary skills.

This event will see Cambodia’s aspiring youth competing for a chance to win $1000 in prizes. Sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture, U.S. Dry Bean Council, Potatoes USA, Raisin Administrative Committee, and U.S. Meat Export Federation among others, the competition will focus on certain ingredients. Over 90 minutes, contestants must craft a standout dish featuring U.S. prime beef chuck eye roll, hash brown potatoes, seedless black raisins as well as dried chickpeas and pinto beans. Special awards will also be given based on creative use of ingredients. The award ceremony will take place December 12th.

The venue for this competition, the ACAC is the first hospitality training institution in Cambodia offering internationally recognized diplomas in the culinary arts. It opened its doors last December under the stewardship of Pierre Tami. Hailing from Switzerland, He and his wife moved to Cambodia in the 90s. While their background was in the airline industry, they dove feet first into social enterprise and capacity building. Tami is also the founder of Hagar International, the Kingdom’s leading catering business with a mission to train underprivileged youth and victims of human trafficking.

At Hagar’s inception over 20 years ago, Mr. Tami was already dreaming of the ACAC. He believes “The major priority in this country is human resources. There’s a huge growth in the economy and a demand for services, so the demand is growing for highly skilled, educated workers. And it’s not just F&B, but in every sector. The most important projects we should be investing in right now are educational ones, because if you don’t have skilled-up staff it becomes an issue for the country’s competitiveness and its economic growth.” We couldn’t agree more. Best of luck to Mr. Rom, Mr. Kon and Mr. Chea along with all other participants displaying the fruits of their education and labour.