Alain "Papa" Darc
None of what we do would be possible without Papa’s award-winning skills, knowledge and passion that are the backbone of the Topaz experience, from the dedication to impeccable service to the excellence of the cuisine, you will find his spirit there. Papa arrived in Cambodia more than ten years ago, and has since dedicated his life to helping Cambodians develop their skills in the kitchen and on the floor. He trains students at Pour Un Sourire d’Enfant, and NGO dedicated to providing skills and training to disadvantaged young Cambodians, many of whom are now working in Cambodia’s best hotels and restaurants, including Topaz.
Papa comes from a long, long line of chefs and winemakers which his family have been able to record back to the time his ancestor served as chef to King Louis XVIII in the early 1800s. His own father was a Michelin-starred chef, and he grew up in the company and under the guidance of France’s greatest names, including Lucien Ogier, Emile Tingaut, Jean Delavine and Paul Bocuse. His own experiences brought him to the attention of all the premier restaurant guides, including Michelin, Gault Millau, Routard, and more. It is fair to say that cooking is in his DNA, and it’s hard to keep him away from the kitchen, whether he is cooking, teaching, mentoring or simply enjoying the atmosphere.
Every single day is rich with opportunities to learn. This is the belief that has powered Lina Hak’s career at Thalias and Topaz since CEO Arnaud Darc, impressed with her clear, forthright thinking and natural approach towards people, hired her as an administrator in 2006. Since then, even as she progressed up through the ranks, she also found the time to study law at the Royal University of Law and Economics as well as a certificate in international business and a dozen short courses. Lina’s role as a mentor and leader is vital at Topaz, but she is an equally active member of Phnom Penh’s vibrant business networking community. Her warmth and wisdom make her invaluable wherever she goes, but especially when she greets you on the restaurant floor.
Sopheak has been with Topaz for 15 years now, where his natural curiosity, ambition and passion for French cooking have been enhanced by training spells in the kitchens of 2-Michelin starred chef Alain Dutournier’s Paris restaurant, Carré des Feuillants, and at Michelin-starred restaurant Arrambide in the Hotel les Pyrénées. Sopheak has a natural understanding of food, sensitive to all its exceptional possibilities and Papa Darc's mentoring has helped him to hone all of these skills and more, while his training abroad has helped him to run a kitchen like a ship.
Sothy joined Thalias in 2009 as a section captain on the restaurant floor. Since then, he has risen steadily through the ranks to the position he holds today, embracing the challenges every step of the way not just for the opportunities they give him to serve, but also for the opportunities they bring him to grow. Sothy is a warm, outgoing character, fluent in English and French, and loves to share his passion for food and service while honouring his guests with the service that they deserve. Sothy brings a thoughtful approach to his duties, refined by the ten years he spent as a monk, but he also likes to challenge his team to move outside of their comfort zone, encouraging them to grow and learn with him.