Six new scholarship students entered the Academy last April, joining the ranks of a growing number of underprivileged Khmers who hope to become professional chefs in the future. Filled with enthusiasm, they shared their first impressions in joining ACAC and what they hope to achieve with their scholarship.

“I want to be a chef on a cruise ship,” said Narun, a young man from Preah Vihear province who hopes to bring his family out of poverty by attaining a culinary degree. From a young age, Narun has lived in a church-run orphanage that helped him study Primary to Secondary school. When he heard about the opportunity offered by the Naomi Tami Memorial Scholarship Fund he jumped at the chance to change his future. “I want to support my family with this degree. I like it here because everything is in high standard and I can practice speaking English every day.”

Similarly, Luka a high school graduate from Phnom Penh dreams of becoming a chef to support his family. “I am the oldest of five siblings so I have a big responsibility to help my family. I love cooking and I want to learn how to be a great chef. This school has the highest quality in culinary arts so I am very proud to study here.”

Of the six new students, there are two women, one of them in her mid 40’s stood out. Her name is Ravy. ACAC welcomes all who wants to study culinary arts, including those who are over school-age like her. Ravy currently works for an NGO supporting poor widows and HIV victims. When asked, she said that it’s her ultimate dream is to help poor people earn a living.

“I want to become a chef and have my own restaurant,” Ravy says with excitement in her eyes. “With the restaurant, I can provide employment to people who do not stand a chance in the labor market because they don’t have education or are poor. I want to help them make a better life for themselves.”

Motivated by their passion to learn and drive to attain a better future for themselves and their loved ones, our six scholars began their first semester at ACAC being exposed to a series of skills and work ethics necessary to become professional chefs in Cambodia and the region.