Once he acquires the necessary culinary skills and business management practices, 18 year old Hongly Phal plans to open a family friendly restaurant where people can eat good quality food at reasonable prices and create happy memories with their children.

Hongly was born in Kampong Speu Province, Cambodia, to a family of four. His father is a cowherd and his mother sells clothes at the local market.

Hongly always wanted to study cooking but had no idea where to start. Before winning his scholarship to the Academy of Culinary Arts Cambodia (ACAC), Hongly was at the Liger Leadership Academy Foundation, which still assists him with accommodation and food. “But I am still struggling without enough money so that’s why I have to work to cover other expenses until I finish my semester and find an internship,” he said, adding that he also has some savings from working before joining the ACAC.

Every day Hongly commutes for two hours on a motorcycle from his home to attend classes at the ACAC.

At the Liger Leadership Academy Foundation, Hongly learnt English. Each student was taught to cook his or her own meal and that’s where his discovered passion for cooking, mentored by his teacher Matt, a chef from England. He put theory into practice by going to the market and grocery shops and interviewing vendors for economic assignments. Hongly’s favourite dish is stewed chili beef.

Hongly hopes to find an internship in Dubai or Switzerland where he can cook as a team with international colleagues. “Communication and understanding your co-workers are really important; cooking is teamwork.”

Even if he had not been given the opportunity to study at the ACAC, Hongly says he would have been working in a kitchen somewhere in Phnom Penh because cooking is his passion. He looks forward to returning to the ACAC one day to pass on his knowledge and skills to the next generation.

“Please continue supporting those who have passion but cannot afford school fees and promote the scholarship for students in remote provinces to apply. The scholarship is a life changing opportunity for me,” Hongly says.

Hongly receives financial assistance from the Naomi Tami Memorial Scholarship Fund to follow a diploma course at the ACAC. Since it began in 2017, the scholarship fund has enabled 38 young Cambodians to achieve their dream of having successful careers in the hospitality industry.

About The Naomi Tami Memorial Scholarship Fund

The Naomi Tami Scholarship Memorial Fund was established by the Tami family to honour the memory of Naomi Laura Tami who passed away on May 7, 2013, at the early age of 23. In keeping with Naomi’s love of life and passion, the Naomi Tami Scholarship Memorial Fund provides the opportunity for students who are committed to excellence, love the culinary arts, and who would not otherwise have the opportunity due to financial constraints, to study tuition-paid at the Academy of Culinary Arts Cambodia.

How to give

Your financial gifts to the Naomi Tami Scholarship Memorial Fund enable Shift360 to expand scholarship opportunities for the Academy of Culinary Arts Cambodia and provide more students with financial constraints the chance for a brighter future.


Naomi Tami Memorial Scholarship Fund: https://www.naomimemorialfund.com/

Shift 360 Foundation: https://shift360.ch/naomi-tami-scholarship/

Academy of Culinary Arts Cambodia (ACAC): https://acac.edu.kh/

About Shift 360 Foundation

Our 360 degree approach seeks to engage the private sector, governments, academic and religious leaders in order to bring innovative and creative solutions to poverty.

At Shift 360 Foundation, we facilitate market-based solutions that address critical social inequalities in the Greater Mekong Subregion by:

GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT: Catalyzing fair and sustainable employment.

ECONOMIC GROWTH: Improving access to services essential to economic growth.

INFLUENCING DECISION MAKERS: Influencing decision makers to adopt a common good approach.

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