Epicure Vietnam

SPEARHEADI­NG SAIGON’S FINE DINING FOOD SCENE

SAKAL PHOEUNG, CHEF & OWNER OF LE CORTO & PT’I SAIGON; PRESIDENT ESCOFFIER VIETNAM, MAÎTRES CUISINIERS DE FRANCE

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Chef Sakal arrived in Ho Chi Minh City in 2012 and was one of the first chefs to spearhead the gourmet and epicurean culinary scene in Vietnam. He arrived in Saigon after leading the opening of Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra to helm the kitchen as Executive Chef of Sofitel Plaza Saigon, one of the first internatio­nal luxury hotel chains in Vietnam.

Armed with 22 years of experience working for internatio­nal luxury hotel chains and restaurant­s in China and Cambodia as well as a history of culinary stints in Europe at Michelin-starred restaurant­s and a myriad of Relais and Châteaux (a collection of gourmet restaurant­s, boutique hotels, resorts and villas. Chef Sakal opened his first restaurant Le Corto in 2016 followed by P’ti Saigon. During his time in Vietnam, Sakal has had the pleasure of cooking for notable figures such as the French President François Hollande and is also the President of les Disciples d’escoffier Vietnam, a non-profit associatio­n created in Nice in 1954 (France) dedicated to the culinary arts and the transmissi­on of knowledge and classic French cuisine.

WHO/WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATIO­N FOR GETTING INTO THIS INDUSTRY AND WHY?

My mother who is currently living in France.

CAN YOU NAME 3 UP-AND-COMING INDUSTRY FIGURES TO LOOK OUT FOR IN VIETNAM?

• Didier Corlou who did a lot for Vietnamese cuisine and owns his own restaurant in Hanoi

• Chef Tung of TUNG Dining, I really like what he is doing and his cuisine is exceptiona­l

• Chef Võ Thành Vương, my ex-sous Chef who won Top Chef

WHAT’S SOME ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO THOSE LOOKING TO ENTER THE INDUSTRY?

Be passionate about food, believe in yourself and near stop evolving and learning in this dynamic and ever-changing industry.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST, WHAT’S YOUR HOPE AND VISION FOR VIETNAM’S F&B INDUSTRY?

My hope is for Vietnamese chefs and cuisine to gain more visibility globally. There are many new and talented chefs on the rise and they deserve more recognitio­n.

LE CORTO

5D Nguyen Sieu Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1 Website: lecortovie­tnam.com

Facebook: Lecorto

P’TI SAIGON

52 Ngo Quang Huy Street, Thao Dien Ward, District 2 Facebook: ptisaigon

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