Reng Plech: We’re Always Rising to the Challenge

The talented and passionate Reng Plech is a Commis II at Topaz, especially working on developing a range of homemade cheeses made with milk from Cambodia. Discover her story and everyday work in the Central Kitchen.

“My name is PLECH Reng. I am 30 years old and come from Kampong Thom province where I grew up with my three brothers and six sisters. My journey beyond Kampong Thom began in 2012 when I left home to enrol at the Food Production Institute at Pour Un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE) in Phnom Penh. I graduated in 2018.

I knew nothing about city life when I first arrived in Phnom Penh, and things were difficult for me at the beginning. But I knew that this is a part of what we call “life”, and life is fighting, and an opportunity to learn. But I was very lucky on finding a job with Topaz as soon as I had graduated. I started as a Commis III Chef in the Garde Manger section of the kitchen where I did many basic kitchen tasks. Since then I have learned a great deal about food preparation, cooking, butchery and most recently I learned how to make our own house-made cheese, 100% made in Cambodia using local milk.

Today, I believe I have found my dream job, that can set me on a path towards maybe one day becoming a famous chef. I am looking forward to all the challenges that can help me to grow and fulfil my ambitions.”

“To get our house made Le Rousseau cheese, we first need to have pasteurised milk. Then, check the smell and taste, and take it to do another test with analyzer to check the quantity of fat, lactose and water before we start doing cheese. First step of doing cheese, we need pasteurize milk from low temperature, 70 Celsius degree to 72 Celsius degree, to kill all the bacteria and keep it 20mn with lid. Then, we need to cool it down below 28 Celsius degree. After that, we put lactic ferment and rennet. After rennet, we need to wait 18 to 24 hour before moulding. This is kind of fresh cheese we need to ripe from 8 to 10 days.”

Her message for Women’s Day: “I would like to say to all women out there that “If you can dream it, you can do it, and don’t stop until you’re proud of yourself”.”