As a young maid, when Mariya was molested by her householder, she thought: This is the end. In fact, it was the beginning – of her unique career as a chef.
I AM MARIYA UN NOUN
Maria’s story begins like so many in Cambodia: in the slums, with no hope of a real school education. She was sold by her parents and had to work as a maid. From here she fled and ended up on the streets of Phnom Penh. Hannes Schmid found her and gave her a job in our kitchen. She took her chance and it quickly became clear: the petite mother of two children has spectacular talent. Smiling Gecko first promoted this talent in Cambodia and later in Switzerland. After all, she was able to cook so well that top chefs like Andreas Caminada became aware of this exceptional talent. It is also the latter who predicts a unique career for her. We keep our fingers crossed. Because today she is not only the figurehead of the farmhouse kitchen, but also its best teacher.
THE KHMER CUISINE IN THE RESTAURANTS OF THE FARMHOUSE RESORT
At first glance, the artistic creations of Mariya and her team may seem anachronistic to what the reality of rural Cambodia otherwise holds. We can say: As far as the Farmhouse is concerned, they are not. On the contrary. Mariya’s cuisine is among the best in the country and many people come to us just to enjoy it in the resort’s unique ambience. The money they pay for it is one of our most important sources of income. In addition, the Farmhouse is still our largest training company.
«I cook with my heart, not my head."»
And the concept works: In addition to the Farmhouse Restaurant, where the breakfast buffet is also served, we will be opening a real fine dining restaurant in autumn with the “Un” (named after Mariya’s last name). Pre-opening bookings are extremely encouraging. Well, we will report when the time comes.