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Christine Todino

Immigrants are
important to the
culture and food.

Le Cirque was one of the most famous and fancy restaurants in New York City and it finally moved to a new location and 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 young.

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 exciting city.

Khunn has a theory about why New York City is such a fascinating place to live: ”Immigration makes New York interesting. This city needs new people coming in. Immigrants are very important to the culture and food, among many other things.”


fancy: de moda
location: ubicación
childhood: niñez
a very long time ago: hace muchísimo tiempo
sadly: con melancolía
was torn apart: se dividió
happy ending: final feliz
emigrated: emigró
sous-chef: asistente del cocinero principal
top chef: cocinero principal

offer: oferta de trabajo
stayed: se quedó
he doesn’t even think: ni remotamente piensa
exciting: apasionante
theory: teoría
fascinating: fascinante
needs: necesita
among many other things: entre muchas otras cosas