UPDATE Sept. 1, 2013 - Sokun Nuon-Slama is no longer the chef at Ocean 17.
By Becky Billingsley
Monday, June 3, 2013, Myrtle Beach – Today Ocean 17 manager, Matt Kose, and restaurant owner, Barry Nadi, announced that the forthcoming Myrtle Beach restaurant’s new chef is Sokun Nuon-Slama.
Nuon-Slama is the second executive chef hired at Ocean 17, which is scheduled to open at the end of June; the first was Alex Petard, who left the company.
Nuon-Slama has much life experience and culinary experience. Her father, a teacher, took work as a cook for the vicious Kmer Rouge regime in Cambodia to protect his family, according to the chef’s website at http://chefsokun.com/. He cooked as if their lives depended on it.
The family finally was able to flee to Thailand and then moved to Paris in 1979, when Nuon-Slama was 8 years old. She reveled in French cuisine and writes she became known in the French Cambodian community as a talented cook.
Fast-forward to age 26, when the Sokun Nuon-Slama and her husband, Parisian Guillame Slama, moved to Georgia. She worked in a restaurant for several years before the couple opened a circa 1819 bed and breakfast called the Lafayette Manor Inn in Washington, Ga. During this period, the inn and the chef and her husband were written up in the August 2008 issue of Southern Living magazine.
But today their restaurant home is Whiteville, N.C., where the couple now owns three culinary businesses: New Southern Kitchen Restaurant, which is, “…upscale European and Southern Cuisine with a twist of Asian in an elegant setting,” a tapas and martini bar called Madison Lounge, and a sandwich/ice cream shop called Sophie’s.
A May 2011 article in Wilmington’s WILMA magazine said the Myrtle Beach chapter of the Chaines des Rotisseurs visited the New Southern Kitchen.
Now add Myrtle Beach’s Ocean 17 to Chef Nuon-Slama’s repertoire. Kose said this summer, in addition to opening Ocean 17, the chef is going to Raleigh for a taping of the Food Network’s “Iron Chef” culinary competition program.
Nuon-Slama was not immediately available for comment on this announcement.