Friends cookbook wins at Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2009

Cookbook cover front

Friends-International’s cookbook From Spiders to Water Lilies, Creative Cambodian Cooking  with Friends won two awards at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, held in Paris on July 1.

The first award was for ‘Best Asian Cuisine Book’, chosen as the winner out of 22 other countries. This was the first time a book from Cambodia has won the award.

From Spiders to Water Lilies was also in the top 5 of the ‘Fund Raising and Charity Cookbook’ category, where 21 countries were competing.

Gustav Auer, Friends hospitality coordinator and co-author of the book is delighted that Cambodian cuisine is  really starting to be recognized outside of Cambodia. “I’m really proud that the book has won this award. One of Friends goals is to help street children to rediscover their culture  and we started Romdeng as a way of reviving Cambodian cuisine so that they could learn about their culture through food.  This award reinforces the message that Cambodian cuisine is something really special and for them to be very proud of.”

More information about the awards is available here:

From Spiders to Water Lilies  – Cambodian Cooking with Friends
The NGO Friends started working with street children in Cambodia in 1994. Since then, they have helped around 85 000 children to leave the streets, go to school or to find employment. Part of their support to vulnerable youth is to provide vocational training in hospitality at its two training restaurants in the capital, Phnom  Penh.

Following on from their first cookbook The Best of Friends, published in 2003, From Spiders to Water Lilies features the cuisine of Cambodia, which is not widely known outside the country. Friends hopes that this book will change that. Often incorrectly compared to Thai or Vietnamese  cuisines, the book shows how different Cambodian food really is. Featuring an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruit, the dishes in this cookbook can be easily adapted to be made in any country – not just Cambodia!

The book has over 40 recipes including Cambodia’s most famous dish  – Fish Amok, along with unique dishes like Banana Flower Salad with Grilled Cambodian Bacon, Lime and Sweet Chili sauce and delicious desserts like Crispy Rice Dumplings with Banana and Palm Sugar Syrup.

The book has been complied by students and staff and features recipes from the Friends Cambodian restaurant, Romdeng. Students here are aged between 15 and 20 and are all former street children who have been supported by Friends to move away from life on the streets and to study so that they can find rewarding employment. Many of the students go on to work in popular restaurants in Phnom Penh, once they have completed their studies.

All proceeds from the sale of the book go back to Friends-International’s projects for vulnerable and marginalized urban youth.

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1 Response

  1. August 31, 2009

    […] I’ve lost count of the cookbooks I brought back from Asia this time. I’m fairly certain my weight in books surpassed everything else in my luggage. Among that traveling library was a copy of From Spiders to Water Lilies: Creative Cambodian Cooking with Friends. It’s a beautiful book, which finally presents Khmer cuisine in a sophisticated way. I love it. Published by the Friends NGO, the book won due recognition this summer with honors at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. […]