Short biography of the world cookbook winner

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mrs. Long Sorey (L) winner of the World Gourmand cookbook (Photo supplied)

21 April 2010
By Mao Sotheany
Radio Free Asia

Translated from Khmer by Heng Soy and Socheata

Click here to read the article in Khmer

Under this week’s Khmer Women’s Progam, Mrs. Mao Sotheany is reporting about a short biography and the volunteer work by the winner of the World Gourmand cookbook author.

The Cambodian cookbook penned by a Cambodian woman and her daughter was selected to receive the World Gourmand prize in France. The cookbook was considered as the most talented cookbook in the world for 2009 among a selection of 6,000 other entries.

The French-language cookbook includes about 139 recipes and it also includes photographs. It was authored by Mrs. Long Sorey who is currently retired and living in Cambodia.

The 69-year-old lady was a former teacher during the Lon Nol Khmer Republic regime and she is currently retired. She is very happy after learning that the cookbook she co-authored with her daughter was recognized as a special cookbook in the world, both in terms of quality, printing, cover illustration, as well as photo illustrations of the completed dishes and the ease to prepare more than 130 Cambodian dishes.

Mrs. Long Sorey said: “I am very pleased, extremely pleased! Two Cambodian women wrote the number 1 cookbook in the world. This prize is beyond my imagination, it means more than money to me. I remembered about Cambodia, nobody knew about me, I had a Cambodian flag and they did not know about Cambodia. I showed them where Cambodia is! I showed them…”

Mrs. Long Sorey, the winner of the World Gourmand cookbook, said that the recognition of the talent in this Cambodian cookbook is an important factor to let countries in the world know about the civilization, the culture and the customs of Cambodia, and Cambodian food in particular.

In addition to her cooking skills, she is also very skilled in sewing and knitting, as well as being an expert in wedding marriage clothing. She said that after coming to live in Virginia, USA, in 1975, she was actively involved in Cambodian communities, especially during the celebration of the Cambodian New Year.

Mrs. Long Sorey said: “I dress up in Cambodian clothes to show how Cambodian women dress up, how they carry a food container to take to the pagoda, how we dress up for weddings, and during the Cambodian New Year, I have to do it to show others. People like to cook, they asked me to help so I can earn some extra income on top of my factory salary because I only know how to cook, to work in the household, so in order to survive, I did everything…”

In 1977, Mrs. Long Sorey and her husband, Mr. Long Bota, a former professor under the Lon Nol regime, along with their two children, decided to move to live in France. There, she and her husband were actively involved in the Cambodian community: “… Me and my teacher, we formed the women association to help in the translation work, to help find jobs, to teach cooking, tailoring, dressing up in Khmer. In Cambodia, I used to teach tailoring. People wanted to know, wanted to learn, so on Sundays, my family went to teach others because it’s something we like…”

Mrs. Long Sorey added that, in addition to being a teacher for household work during vacation period and weekends, she also used to volunteer her work in France and in refugee camps along the Khmer-Thai border.

Mrs. Long Sorey said: “When I arrived in France, I continued my study until I became a chef teacher for more than 20 years, up until my retirement in 2001. Prior to 2001, I returned back to Cambodia once a year. After 1980, I volunteered to work at refugee camps along the border because I have 2 months of vacation each year, I went to teach cooking and tailoring to Cambodian women in refugee camps so that when they return back to Cambodia, they have some skill to survive on…”

Mrs. Long Sorey and her husband, Mr. Long Bota, retired in 2001. They currently returned back to live in Cambodia and to offer volunteer work for the Children’s Smile NGO.

Mrs. Long Sorey claimed: “I volunteered to teach at a school where they gather children who scavenge garbage and bring them in to study at the center. I teach them, the younger teachers do not know how to cook Khmer food.”

The two children of Mrs. Long Sorey and her husband are both married now. Her son now lives and works in Switzerland, and her daughter went to live and work in England after her wedding.

She added that as long as she lives, she will continue to share all her professional knowledge to all Cambodian girls and younger generation of Cambodian women who want to learn about savoir-vivre (life), morale and household work such as cooking, dressing up for wedding, tailoring, knitting, etc…

Mrs. Long Sorey claimed that her cookbook is currently being translated into English and in the future, it will also be published in Khmer as well.


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