Cirque was one of the most famous and
fancy restaurants in New York City
and it finally moved to a new
was then called Le Cirque 2000. That
made Sottha Khunn a very busy man. He had been a chef at Le Cirque for more
than ten years.
Khunn was born in
Cambodia. He doesn’t like to talk about his
childhood. ”That was
a very long
time ago,” he says
sadly. Khunn’s family
was torn apart when he was very
But this sad story has a
happy ending. Khunn
emigrated to France in
1974 to study classical French cooking. Ten years later, a very famous chef,
Daniel Boulud, invited Khunn to come to New York. Boulud wanted Khunn to be
his sous-chef (the assistant to the
top chef) at his
Le Regence restaurant.
Khunn accepted his offer, and came to the United States in 1984. Two years
later, Khunn and Boulud left Le Regence and started working at Le Cirque.
Boulud left Le Cirque a few years later, but Khunn
stayed. Today he is the
restaurant’s top chef.
Khunn calls New York City his home now. He’s been here for a long
time and he doesn’t even think of ever leaving that
Khunn has a theory about why New York City is such a
place to live: ”Immigration makes New York interesting. This city
people coming in. Immigrants are very important to the culture and food,
among many other things.”