None of what we do would be possible without Chef Alain Darc’s award-winning skills, knowledge and passion that are the backbone of the Topaz experience. This can be seen from the dedication to impeccable service and to the excellence of the cuisine, things that chef Alain Darc was sure to place his spirit in. Chef Darc 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, an 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.
Chef Alain Darc comes from a long, long line of chefs. 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 “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” chef, and he grew up 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 core belief that has powered Lina Hak’s career at Thalias and Topaz since CEO Arnaud Darc, whom was impressed with her clear, forthright thinking and natural approach towards people, hired her as an administrator in 2006. Since then, 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 dozens of other 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.
Chef Sopheak has been with Topaz for 15 years now, where his natural curiosity, ambition and passion for French cooking have been displayed throughout his time working in Topaz. Chef Sopheak, with the help of Topaz, has 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 an innate understanding of food, sensitive to all its exceptional possibilities and with Chef Alain Darc’s mentoring, it 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, whom loves to share his passion for food and service while honouring his guests with the service they deserve. Sothy brings a thoughtful and unseen approach to his duties, refined by the ten years he spent as a monk. Sothy sets a great example to his co-workers, and never forgets the importance of challenging his team to move outside their comfort zone, encouraging them to grow and learn with him.