Rachana Lot, Learning and Sharing


Head of the Khéma Angkor team since January 2019, Rachana started as a waitress and discovered a passion for a sector she discovered somewhat by accident.

Some successful careers don’t turn out as one imagined they might at the beginning. Rachana Lot is a case in point. Her childhood dream was to become a doctor or air hostess. Nonetheless, nothing would now lead her to abandon her role in hospitality, a domain that she sums up in a few words: excellence, learning and transmission.

She hasn’t stopped learning for years, without a break, even now, “because we can never truly master a subject”, said she who had to master the secrets of French gastronomy in record time after taking up her post at Khéma Angkor in October 2018. “I started as a simple waitress, but this profession isn’t limited to taking order and carrying dishes. It’s also about advising clients, telling them about the ingredients of this or that speciality and responding to their requests”.


It was thus as a waitress that Rachana started up in a profession chosen by default. “Studying to become a doctor would have taken too long, and too much money, for me to have done it well. I hadn’t given up on the idea of becoming an air hostess, but it seemed sensible to look at hospitality. First, because that is where there is work, but also because it brings together those jobs that require human contact, understanding and knowledge, all the things that drew me to it. So I decided to study this domain at Build Bright University, while starting my career at Malis. My studies, which lasted four years, and my experience at Malis allowed me to fully get to know the profession and to feel at ease”.

The first three months were still difficult though for a young woman who still needed to find her feet and lacked confidence. But her doubts were soon swept away, and once her reflexes had developed, everything started to go smoothly. “I was so stressed and didn’t know what to do. I had just started studying catering at the same time and everything was new to me. And then I told myself that people had hired me to do this job, that I couldn’t let them down and that I had to move on.”


The year 2019 was a kind of consecration for Rachana as she picked up her degree and heard about the opening of Khéma Angkor. Her application was accepted, and she became team leader after a few months. But before that, she had to learn a whole part of a culinary culture that until then was totally unknown to her “Fortunately, I was able to count on the support of the entire team, not to mention the many tips given to me by the restaurant manager, who never hesitated to explain to me what I didn’t know. I then discovered the different dishes, wines, pastries and cakes, but also all the varieties of charcuterie and cheeses on the restaurant’s menu. There are so many of them! I had the pleasure of tasting all the products on offer, which enabled me to advise the customers as well I could, but also to discover surprising flavours that I didn’t know existed.” Her favourite dishes include Cobb salad, Café de Paris steak (“So yummy!”) and cheeses, provided they are not too strong.


Armed with this new knowledge, Rachana manages her team of four, takes care of reservations, organises the reception of groups and keeps an eye on the set-up and welcomes customers. Not forgetting the other activities shared with the rest of the team, in accord with the restaurant’s philosophy that everyone should be able to share and take turns in carrying out tasks that are outside their natural remit, such as running the cash register, serving or going behind the bar. “This teaches us to not only be versatile, and learn all the different aspects of the job, but also to put ourselves in our colleagues’ shoes. It makes everything work for the best in the restaurant, which is a great recipe!”

Never one to stop learning, and with ambitions to one day be a restaurant manager, Rachana considers herself happy in her life and in her town. “I was born in Siem Reap and I have always lived here. I live with my family in the house where I grew up, and it’s a town I love. Maybe one day I will have to move to Phnom Penh or somewhere else, never say never, but I want to enjoy Siem Reap and my job here in the Khéma as much as possible.”

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