ABOUT US, PHILOSOPHY, TEAM
For more than 20 years, Topaz has been a landmark for French fine dining in the heart of Phnom Penh. A staple to where we celebrate time-honoured traditions and cutting-edge gastronomy in a stylish, contemporary setting. Topaz reflects the richly cultured, vibrant and dynamic capital city, that it calls home. Personally selected ingredients, dedication to service and the deepest pride in being among the best, are at the heart of every dish we serve.
By sourcing our ingredients from the Marché Rungis in Paris and from individually selected suppliers across France and Cambodia, we leave nothing to chance. We also have every intention in investing just as much time and energy into constantly training and supporting our staff, some of whom have been with us from the very first day Topaz opened its doors in 1997.
We strive constantly to create new events highlighting talents with modern, innovative and interesting perspectives on French cuisine. Many Michelin-starred chefs have come to celebrate with us, and taken time out of their busy schedules to teach us, due to the reason that we believe in the life-nourishing value of discovery and self improvement.
Topaz is about celebrating the classical traditions that underpin one of the most famous cuisines in the world. We do this by honouring those ideals with the best ingredients that we can find. This is why we source premium ingredients from leading producers and suppliers with whom we build enduring relationships that span the globe from France to Cambodia’s coastlines.
Topaz is a French restaurant, but it is also Cambodian, and building up the skills of the next generation of young chefs, managers and team players, is something that we take very seriously.
Furthermore, Topaz wants to innovate by bringing cutting-edge gastronomy to Cambodia with its glorious wealth of new ideas, ingredients and techniques. We want to reward our customers with dazzling, world-class events and fire up the skills, knowledge and creativity within our team.
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.