It’s been 18 months since Malis in Siem Reap first opened its doors and it continues to go from strength to strength on the back of the team’s skills, passion and endless thirst for knowledge. And there are few better examples than restaurant manager, Sothy Keo, who joined the crew two years ago next month.
Thanks to hard work and determination, Sothy has built up her career by herself, working her way up through a range of hotels in Siem Reap, her home town. Starting off in a small hotel, she has taken responsibility for her own development at each stage of her path, powered by the deep pleasure she gets from the fact that she’s constantly learning, and she loves it. More than that, she gets just as big a kick out of sharing what she knows.
While working at the hotel that was subsequently taken over by Anantara Angkor Resort, Sothy was concerned that while she had mastered the operational elements of bar and restaurant management, she didn’t feel confident enough to provide training to others working with her. So, taking matters into her own hands, she started to teach at Friends International, an NGO that specialises in providing disadvantaged young Cambodians with the skills and training they need to forge their own futures. From there, she went on to teach at Ecole Paul Dubrule, the tourism and hospitality training school established by the co-founder of AccorHotels group.
Even after she joined us here at Malis, she carried on with her desire to share her skills and knowledge, volunteering as a teacher at another not-for-profit hospitality training school, EGBOK, although her ongoing rise and increasing responsibilities with the ranks of Malis meant she has had to put that aside for a while. However, she’d love to see more training schools in Siem Reap as there is such a great need for it from every point of view.
And what does she do when she’s not making sure the restaurant floor at Malis is running smoothly? Well, all we can say is, don’t mess with Sothy. She’s a huge fan of Japanese martial arts, and trains whenever she can. She’s even gone to Thailand and Taiwan to take part in special workshops.
For now, Sothy remains passionate about learning and teaching though, and is currently keen to learn more about wine and perhaps even train as a wine sommelier. She loves that every day at work here is pretty much “like going to school and getting paid for it!” The best of both worlds.