Mr Sokoun Chanpreda, Managing Director of Hospitality Management and Development Asia (HMD Asia) and owner of Shinta Mani Hotels, is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Kien Wagner as Executive Chef for Bensley Collection – Shinta Mani Wild, opening on 1 November 2018.
Bensley Collection – Shinta Mani Wild is a radical new concept for a unique luxury tented camp experience within the remote wilderness of the Southern Cardamom National Park, three hours’ drive from Phnom Penh.
Kien trained as an Apprentice Chef at the Hotel Sullberg in Hamburg, Germany from 2004-2007 and for the next few years worked his way up in various culinary roles within hotels and restaurants in his native country. In August 2010 he moved to Australia as Chef de Partie at the upscale Hayman Island Resort in Queensland’s Whitsunday region.
After a brief return to work in Germany followed by a year in Spain, Kien moved to Cambodia as Chef Trainer and Advisor for Friends International in Phnom Penh, an international social enterprise and registered non-governmental organization focusing on children’s empowerment. Remaining in Cambodia, he held consulting Chef roles with The Blue Pumpkin and the Metropolitan Group before joining the Knai Bang Chatt Resort as Executive Chef in August 2015. Prior to joining Bensley Collection – Shinta Mani Wild, he was Executive Chef at Anantara Angkor Resort in Siem Reap.
Kien has developed a great passion for Cambodia and its people and it was there he learned that food is medicine and began his personal journey to explore the important relationship between nature, food and well-being. He only consumes fresh natural food, avoiding anything processed or with a barcode. He is adventurous and curious; drilling down to the origins of local cuisine to discover its history. He loves to explore local markets and discover new ingredients and incorporate them into his skillfully created dishes with the utmost attention to detail.
Bensley Collection – Shinta Mani Wild will offer a unique dining experience. With no official menu, culinary offerings under the direction of talented Chef Kien will include wild edible plants sustainably foraged each day from the forest to accompany the best quality meat and seafood available. Guests are welcome to join Chef on his foraging expeditions and learn from his extensive expertise including five years in Cambodia. Fresh flavorful condiments will be made in-house rather than pre-purchased and the camp will have a permaculture farm and will support local farmers and fishermen. The area has a rich source of large succulent mud crabs which are a local delicacy. All ingredients will be fresh, organic and sustainably sourced from the surrounding forests and as well as imported where necessary.
“I am excited about this wonderful opportunity. My goal is to build a sustainable food forest restaurant experience, sharing the love for preserving and protecting nature with the community, staff and guests,” said Kien.