Interviewed with Seddaoui Ali, Restaurant Manager for Khéma Go and Le Bistrot

This week we interviewed Seddaoui Ali, known as Lilo, who serves as the Restaurant Manager for Khéma Go and Le Bistrot at the French Institute in Cambodia. His career trajectory spans from France to Cambodia, marked by a passion for hospitality and culinary excellence. 

EuroCham: Can you tell us a bit about your background and what led you to this exciting role managing both Khéma Go and Le Bistrot restaurant at the French Institute of Cambodia? 

Lilo: After a decade spent meticulously managing accounts at Club des 4 Vents, a language education company, I embarked on a world exploration tour and discovered Cambodia in 2003. I was immediately captivated by its rich culture and vibrant energy. I spent a year exploring the country before returning to France, where I honed my culinary skills as a restaurant manager at Le Marignan. This experience ignited a new passion for the restaurant industry. 

In 2013, I returned and took on a role at an Italian restaurant. However, family obligations required me to travel back to France to care for my mother. Following the pandemic, I returned once more to Cambodia, this time to raise my children and reconnect with this special place. It was then that Arnaud Darc offered me the incredible opportunity to manage both Khéma Go and Le Bistrot at the French Institute. 

EuroCham: What do you like about living and working in Cambodia? 

Lilo: Cambodia has truly captured my heart. Everything about it feels fresh and exciting. The rich culture, vibrant food scene, and friendly people create a truly special atmosphere. It's a place where I can truly experience a different way of life. 

Raising my two children here has been a wonderful experience as well. The pace of life is much more relaxed compared to my time in Paris. Everything feels more affordable and accessible, allowing us to enjoy a simpler, more carefree lifestyle. Sure, Paris offered a higher salary, but the cost of living made it difficult to truly enjoy the fruits of my labour. Here, in Cambodia, I find a better balance and a more fulfilling life. 

EuroCham: The French Institute creates a beautiful setting for cultural exchange. For someone new to IFC, what kind of overall impression does the space give? 

Lilo: Stepping into the French Institute of Cambodia (IFC) is like entering a vibrant oasis in the heart of Phnom Penh. The beautiful architecture blends with artistic exhibitions, film screenings, and the delicious French cuisine at Le Bistrot, the on-site cafe. For newcomers, the IFC offers a wealth of opportunities to learn French culture through language classes, exhibits, films, and even the library. Whether you're an alumnus– or simply curious about different cultures, the IFC fosters a welcoming space where you can meet people from all walks of life and backgrounds. In short, the IFC is more than just language learning; it's a vibrant cultural hub waiting to be explored. 

EuroCham: Do you have any exciting ideas for events or promotions at Le Bistrot that could showcase French food and culture, attracting both international visitors and Cambodians curious about France? 

Lilo: We are here to collaborate with the IFC to create exciting events that bring French culture to life. We offer students a discount price for a Green Lunch Box project. On top of that, we're introducing a weekend French BBQ brunch at our branch, happening every Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm. This relaxed atmosphere is perfect for families and locals wanting a taste of France.  


Annual Platinum Partners

Annual Gold Partners

Founding Chambers & National Chapters