20 years of serving Phnom Penh’s finest

In July 1997, Topaz first opened its doors as an up-market Franco-Thai restaurant created to serve the country's emerging middle class. But as time passed the focus came to evolve almost exclusively on French fine dining prepared and delivered with healthy doses of passion and flair. As time passed further and the market in Phnom Penh continued to evolve, grow and learn, we also started to focus on creating innovative events that bring the latest trends, techniques and exceptional talents of some of France's finest chefs to Cambodia.

Under the stewardship of a small group of entrepreneurs, Topaz has gone from strength to strength, building up a loyal and sophisticated fanbase among Cambodia’s locals, expats and visitors alike. One of the most widely recognised names in Phnom Penh, it is now in its third location to meet its growing clientele, each one more lovely than the last and always in the heart of the capital.

But at the start of Topaz’s story, there were only two, Arnaud Darc and Piip Jaturapat, who wanted to create something new and innovative for the city. Arnaud was looking to invest himself in new adventures after spending three years working and learning with international hotel group, AccorHotels, which then owned the Sofitel Cambodiana. Meanwhile, Piip had been developing her impressive organisational and management skills while working for the United Nations in Southeast Asia, Somalia, Angola and Kenya.

They were soon joined by Richard Gillet, a French chef who had honed his skills in Michelin-starred kitchens at home before coming to work as the Executive Chef at the French Embassy in Phnom Penh. Later, in 2005, Arnaud’s father, Alain Darc, known by all who love him as Papa, arrived to add to the mix. After a long and decorated career in France, Papa took to retirement like a duck to a desert (i.e. not very well). Instead, he immersed himself in life in Topaz’s kitchen before stepping back to serve as a mentor to the team, especially to our Executive Chef, Sopheak Pov, who has been a part of Topaz for more than 15 years.

Today, as ever in its history, Topaz is a byword for elegance, sophistication and innovation. Our Étoilés Michelin du Topaz events are among the most hotly anticipated in the city, and make a direct contribution to the capital’s cultural and culinary awareness.

The last 20 years have brought us incredible joy, even more incredible flavours, some tears, and a lot of new friendships that we are proud to continue. And we’re looking forward to another 20 years of serving fine French meals with passion, care and flair right here in Cambodia. But first, we will be celebrating our first two decades with an exceptional anniversary party this October. Stay tuned for more details.

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