Kimfong Heng is the third of four children. He was born in Kampong Cham, Cambodia to parents who struggled to feed and educate their family.
Kimfong’s dream was to start his own restaurant with Asian-European food and to create new recipes, so it is a unique place for his patrons. However, he did not have the financial resources to make his dream a reality or even to take the first step of acquiring the skills and knowledge necessary to fulfil his ambitions.
With the assistance of the Naomi Tami Memorial Scholarship Fund, Kimfong embarked on a diploma course at the Academy of Culinary Arts Cambodia (ACAC). Since it began in 2017, the scholarship fund has enabled 38 young Cambodians to achieve their dream of having successful careers in the hospitality industry.
Kimfong faced many challenges on his journey to become a top chef. His English was not very good, so it was difficult to follow the courses. He found the kitchen work environment dangerous, working in extreme temperatures with knives, mincers, and other tools with the risk of burns, fires and falls. The long work hours required a lot of patience, as did the need to get along and work as a team with colleagues.
With the scholarship money, Kimfong was able to pay for his tuition and fund his living expenses in Phnom Penh city, Cambodia’s capital city. He now works as a professional chef.
Through the ACAC courses, Kimfong acquired the theory and practice necessary for his career; they also gave him insights into team building, teamwork and the concept of hospitality and built up his self-confidence.
The internship at a restaurant in Dubai enabled Kimfong to experience a real work environment, learn about creating new recipes and working with others.
While thanking the Naomi Tami Memorial Scholarship Fund and ACAC, Kimfong’s advice to aspiring chefs was to be patient, work hard and dream big.
“The diploma and the skills you learn are really valuable and can help you to become a professional chef or start your own business or work in the hospitality industry,”Kimfong Heng
About The Naomi Tami Memorial Scholarship Fund
The Naomi Tami Scholarship Memorial Fund was established by the Tami family to honour the memory of Naomi Laura Tami who passed away on May 7, 2013, at the early age of 23. In keeping with Naomi’s love of life and passion, the Naomi Tami Scholarship Memorial Fund provides the opportunity for students who are committed to excellence, love the culinary arts, and who would not otherwise have the opportunity due to financial constraints, to study tuition-paid at the Academy of Culinary Arts Cambodia.
How to give
Your financial gifts to the Naomi Tami Scholarship Memorial Fund enable Shift360 to expand scholarship opportunities for the Academy of Culinary Arts Cambodia and provide more students with financial constraints the chance for a brighter future.
Naomi Tami Memorial Scholarship Fund: https://www.naomimemorialfund.com/
Shift 360 Foundation: https://shift360.ch/naomi-tami-scholarship/
Academy of Culinary Arts Cambodia (ACAC): https://acac.edu.kh/