Friday, January 11, 2013

Cuisine Wat Damnak: The proof is in the produce

South China Morning Post, Jan 10, 2013

Calamari salad with coconut tree hearts and prawns at Cuisine Wat Damnak
Calamari salad with coconut tree hearts and prawns. Photo: Lina Goldberg

I'm careering around the dusty roads of Siem Reap in the back of a tuk-tuk. At the wheel is Joannes Riviere, the chef from Cuisine Wat Damnak. As we slow down to make a turn, I notice a group of Cambodians standing around a street-side food stall, watching us and giggling.
It's not clear whether they're laughing because they've never seen a foreigner - or as Khmers call us, barang - at the wheel of a tuk-tuk, or because they know that Riviere is a famous chef who probably shouldn't be driving one at all.
The Frenchman, who moved to Cambodia in 2003 and who speaks almost fluent Khmer, is credited with being one of the few chefs in the country who is cooking "real" Cambodian food.