As part of a series of guest take-overs, Chef Pola Siv took command of the farm-to-table kitchen last week to serve a five-course gourmet dinner on the theme of his personal interpretation. of the following question: what does sustainable food mean? for you?
Pola’s response was: a fully vegetarian menu, much to the surprise of many diners. “We have endless opportunities when it comes to vegetables,” Pola said.
Pola, chef and owner of the acclaimed Mie Cafe, combines French technique and Khmer flavors to create his menu in Banlle – his latest restaurant concept in Siem Reap serving an all-vegetarian menu with a leafy vegetable patch directly on site.
Some of the dishes on offer at Pola include curry ravioli topped with a Cambodian yellow curry sauce, a Battambang asparagus pie with an Amok mushroom emulsion, and a fermented tofu version of the fragrant Khmer classic to love or hate, Prahok. Ktis.
Asked about his expedition to the meatless kitchen, Pola explained his personal change of heart – and diet – three years ago as he began to learn about the chemicals hidden in local “fresh” ingredients.
“After hearing about chemicals used in the market to preserve seafood or hormones that farmers inject into chickens to make them grow faster, it was easy to stop eating meat. Then I thought – as a chef – how can I serve my customers something that I wouldn’t eat myself? “
These types of culinary revelations between guests and between chefs are the conversations Farm to Table aims to ignite – towards a change in the agriculture industry and culinary culture.
Along with awareness of how ingredients are grown and obtained, a less discussed element of sustainable eating is what happens after dinner is over.
“Food waste has a huge environmental impact and is often overlooked as an essential part of sustainability,” said Brittany Sims, owner of Farm to Table.
“We often assume that waste is a forgettable and unavoidable part of the day. Reducing waste is the difference we aim to make in the supply chain – by effectively using what we have, only what we need, and striving to not throw anything away.
Siv and Sims compost their food to start the growth cycle all over again. As Pola poignantly said while cutting asparagus stalks before dinner service: “We have to take care of our home… the home I’m talking about is Earth. “
And while the return of tourism to Siem Reap remains uncertain, Pola is pondering new possibilities. “What’s the future plan? Honestly, I do not know. My next idea is to become a farmer.
- Key words: From farm to table, vegetarian