Embarking on a Culinary Adventure: The Story of Wild Restaurants

Nestled amidst the vibrant streets of Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, Wild Restaurants stand as beacons of culinary creativity and community spirit. Founded by the dynamic duo, Lorraine and Renaud, these establishments have become synonymous with innovative cuisine and heartfelt hospitality.

Lorraine and Renaud’s journey began with a dream and a leap of faith. Reflecting on their hectic lives in Paris, Lorraine recalls, “I jokingly told Renaud that if I’d listen to myself, I’d chuck it all and open a tropical island cocktail haven.” Little did they know, that playful jest would spark a life-changing adventure. Inspired by a transformative trip to Cambodia in 2016, they decided to turn their dream into reality. “We fell for the country’s charm,” Renaud reminisces.

In 2017, fueled by their passion for food and adventure, Lorraine and Renaud bid farewell to their comfortable lives and embarked on a new chapter in Cambodia. Armed with their vision of a spring roll restaurant and cocktail bar, they set out to make their mark on the local culinary scene.

From humble beginnings with just two employees, Wild Restaurants have flourished into bustling establishments with a team of 45 dedicated individuals. “Our lives have done a complete 180,” Lorraine reflects. “We went from rolling spring rolls ourselves to leading two fantastic teams!”

Despite the challenges of running a business in a foreign land, Lorraine and Renaud remain committed to their core values of originality and community engagement. “We don’t try to imitate anyone else,” Renaud emphasizes. “We simply create the kind of space we’d love as customers ourselves.”

This dedication to authenticity extends beyond the menu. From the lush greenery that adorns their restaurants to the warm smiles of their staff, every aspect of Wild reflects the couple’s passion for creating memorable experiences.

But Lorraine and Renaud’s impact goes beyond the walls of their restaurants. Since day one, they have prioritized supporting the local community. “We’ve exclusively hired Cambodians,” Lorraine explains. “We’re dedicated to investing in their growth and offering opportunities for advancement within Wild.”

Their commitment to environmental sustainability is equally commendable. By eliminating plastic bottles and supporting tree-planting initiatives, Lorraine and Renaud are making a tangible difference in their quest to protect the planet.

Wild also thrives on creating an inclusive cultural space, which really sets them apart. Through regular photography exhibitions and community events, they are fostering a sense of togetherness and belonging. “Culture shouldn’t be elitist or exclusive,” Lorraine asserts. “That’s why all our exhibitions are free and open to the public.”

For Lorraine and Renaud, Cambodia isn’t just a place of business – it’s a home filled with warmth, kindness, and a strong sense of community. As they continue to evolve and grow, they invite travelers and locals alike to join them on their culinary adventure. “Cambodia feels like home now,” Renaud reflects, “and we can’t imagine building our lives, or Wild, anywhere else.”

Tom Starkey
Author: Tom Starkey

Tom Starkey is an International Development graduate from Sussex University with 12-years of experience across 4 continents, Tom's goal is that he wants to showcase his love for Cambodia, where he lives, works and now happily calls home.