02 June 2009

Recipe for relief

From five star hotels to the IDP camps, members of the Chefs’ Guild have taken up the challenge to cook 30,000 meals a day. Chathuri Dissanayake reports

For many of the 300,000 people living in the IDP camps in Wanni, a simple hot meal has become a luxury they hardly dare dream about. Wanting to make at least a little difference in the lives of these Sri Lankans who have seen so much suffering these past few months, the Chefs Guild of Sri Lanka has stepped in to help by doing what they know best; cooking.

The programme they will launch along with Give2Asia, and Sarvodaya, aptly named ‘Helping Hands’, will see members of the Chefs Guild cooking 30,000 meals a day for those in the IDP camps.

For the chefs more accustomed to working in the state-of-the art kitchens of the country’s five star hotels, this is indeed a challenge but they are more than willing to rise to the occasion.
“When we saw what was happening and the situation in the camps we knew we had to step in and help in any way we could. Many of the people were donating dry rations and some were providing cooked food which has the likelihood of going bad. People who are cooking inside the camps have no technical knowledge or the experience needed to cook for a large number like 250,000 people. We have the technical knowledge and the experience and we thought we should share it with them and make their burden easier to bear,” said Chef Gerald Mendis, Chairman of the Chefs Guild of Sri Lanka.

“When the tsunami struck our shores, we stepped in and provided cooked meals to the affected people. Give2Asia was a partner there as well. I spoke to Sharadha de Saram, the Programme Consultant for Give2Asia Foundation and she immediately stepped on board and also suggested that we partner with Sarvodaya Foundation which is already providing food for the IDPs,” said Chef Mendis.

They went to work straightaway. “We set about implementing the programme as soon as we agreed on the concept. The day after the initial meeting we went to Vavuniya to assess what needed to be done,” said Sharadha.

The Chefs Guild plans to provide three meals a day for the 10,000 IDPs in Manik Farm camp Zone 2, Sarvodaya blocks 1, 4, 5, 8, 9. They have already made improvements to the community kitchens there.

Different menus have been planned and consideration will be given to nutritional aspects. The food is provided by the World Food Programme (WFP) whereas all the ingredients and improvements in the diet will be provided through donations from the public (see below).
“We have spoken to a number of hotels and hotel management companies such as John Keells Holdings and Jetwing Hotels and they have promised to help,” said Chef Mendis.

Eight chefs will go to Vavuniya every week and will cook in six community kitchens that have been set up in the blocks. "Our chefs have the capability to do anything with any food and create a good meal anywhere from five star conditions to a community kitchen so we can adjust to any situation," said Haleesha Weerasinghe, President of the Chefs Guild who will be going to the camps.

“Cooking food for so many people is no easy task. We have to look at doing it systematically and we have to micro plan about issues such as quantities to prevent any possible wastage or shortage because the numbers in each zone are different. For this we need technical know how in cooking. This is where the chefs can come in a big way,” Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne, Executive Director of Sarvodaya said.

“We are hoping to come up with a programme for these youth to be trained in cookery. So when they get out of the camp they will be able to make a career out of it. We lack the funds and are looking for donors to set up a proper programme,” Sharadha said.

The Chefs Guild and Sarvodaya are appealing for donations of rice, dhall and spices- chilli powder, turmeric, roasted curry powder, coriander powder, goraka, cinnamon, Maldive fish, salt, mustard seeds and ginger for the project.

For information contact Subasena de Silva at Sarvodaya on Tel: +94 777635015 or +94 112655110, or e-mail: sarsube@sarvodaya.org

16 September 2008

Japanese Cooking Class

The SLJCC held yet another successful training all-day training session, this time the subject matter – Japanese Cuisine.


35 SLJCC members attended the day at Club Hotel Dolphin with Chef Priyantha from Jetwing Beach, & Chef Alan from Sri Lankan Catering conducting the session. An innovative learning experience was had by all.


The ten-course menu covered subjects like basic dashi, Japanese pickles, Japanese marination technique, handrolled sushi, maki, tempura, soba, miso, donburi, teriyaki, & much more.


After a quick morning briefing on the menu, a short lecture was given on the history of Japanese cuisine before heading straight for the kitchen. Once inside, a full explanation of all the Japanese ingredients & equipment before we got down to work.  Prior to morning tea, we had completed Japanese pickled vegetables, miso soup, Chawanmushi, and vegetable seafood tempura. This was followed by an explanation and demonstration on soba noodles with seared scallops and braised leeks; and directly after, one hour of nori and sushi making before lunch.


After a delicious buffet lunch expertly executed by Chef Trevor & his team, it was back into the kitchen for a quick fire afternoon of hot entrees, which included garoupa, Japanese BBQ duck, & an Australian beef fillet in miso egg yolk marinate.


The certificates were awarded to all participating Junior Chefs, and an appreciation award was given to the GM of Club Hotel Dolphin for their generous & continued support of SLJCC.


When asked what he liked most about the class, Rasika Kumara responded by saying that “learning cooking in the kitchen close to the stove is far better than ‘cooking’ in the classroom”.


Great thanks to Chef Trevor & Sous Chef Rosman from the Club Hotel Dolphin for their full commitment to the project and supporting the education of young che

fs. Edinborough, without whom this cooking training would not have taken place as the major sponsor of the event and the supplying of the Japanese ingredients their role is invaluable and the SLJCC is very grateful.


As the vast majority of the 35 Junior chefs have never cooked Japanese cuisine, or eat sushi in the past. This was certainly a very new experience that was enjoyed by all.

21 August 2008

Please click on the picture to view the full-sized flyer.

Limited places are available, so book fast to secure a place. Maximum of 2 Junior Chefs per kitchen.

Kindly RSVP by 12 September 2008 (Friday) with Chef Rosman at Tel: 031 2277788

20 August 2008

28 July 2008

SLJCC Pastry Class a great success


Negombo's Pastry Bakery Class a HUGE Success with 64 Chefs in attendance.
With United Foodservices proudly sponsoring the full-day event at the Beach Hotel, the stage was set for a fast paced full day of Pastry Bakery Demonstrations by Chef Dammika Wickermasinghe using the best ingredients from the United Foodservices extensive range of top quality Fonterra products, all the chefs were in for a treat.

"We baked cakes and made a cheese cake that was rich and creamy," said a smiling Junior Club member Rasika.

Chef Dammika demonstrated a full range of products such as Fonterra dairy products including as Anchor Cream, Cream Cheese and Butter along with flour, yeast products and flavourings. He even got some help from Junior Chef Club Committee member, Mr. Rosman Perera who was on hand and taking part in the classes, "The day I stop learning about food is the day I should stop doing this job. Its fantastic to be learning together with all these young chefs and showcasing great ingredients to do it makes it all the better", enthused Rosman.

Also present to make closing comments and hand out the certificates was United Foodservices Managing Director Mr. Sanjeewa Arawansa . "Our goal is to deliver on time quality services and first class products to our customers" and that "product education programmes remain central to our success and that of our clients."

Special thanks to Chef Priyantha and the Beach Hotel General Manager Ma'am Hyacinth for hosting yet another great event, and for inviting the members of the SLJCC.

27 July 2008

Sri Lankan Junior Chefs Club Elects 2008-2009 Committee

The new committee of the SLJCC was elected this week by a large gathering of their fellow Junior Chef members at the Club Hotel Dolphin; and while many of Negombo's leading Executive, Pastry and Sous Chefs were on hand to encourage and congratulate the new appointees, the main drive and excitement came from the many ideas expressed by the new committee members.

The Club Hotel Dolphin generously hosted the 2nd AGM for the club and many thanks must go to Chef Trevor and his team.
In his opening remarks, the Founder and Chairman of the SLJCC, Chef Alan Orreal thanked the outgoing committee for their tireless effort in launching the club in Sri Lanka and went on to note many of the clubs recent successes.

He also explained the current goals and objectives of the SLJCC, set out a detailed action plan forthe committee and outlined the new structure, which includes a mentor chef for each of the Junior Chef committee positions.
An honest and frank newly elected President Uditha Ganewathiha from Club Hotel Dolphin had this to say, “We have a lot of work to continue with, as the first committee was very active, I personally feel that I will need to learn a lot in a short period in order to be an effective President for the members of the SLJCC. I look forward to all the challenges that this role will bring.” Uditha will have Executive Chef Trevor Fernando as his mentor.

Ishara Fernando (his mentor Sous Chef Dinesh Samarakkody) of Jetwing Beach retains his seat as the VP and he made this observation,” I had long discussions with the Chairman and we both agreed that remaining as the VP will provide greater stability for the new committee members and the continuation of current projects.”

Continue in next post...

Continuation: SLJCC Elects 2008-2009 Committee
Pastry Chefs have come forward in large numbers this year and this is reflected in the appointment of the two senior committee positions being taken by Pastry Chef Suresh Shanaka of the Blue Oceanic for Education; and a long time supporter of Junior Chefs, Rosman Perera who is a Sous Chef at the Club Hotel Dolphin for Membership.

Manesh Silva from Sri Lankan Catering remains on the committee as Communications and Web Development guru.

While the all-important role of Social Activities and Responsibility has fallen to Priyantha Perera and his mentor Pastry Sous Chef Leelananda from Browns Beach.

16 May 2008

Opening Cocktail Party at WACS Dubai 2008.
(from left) Ivo representing the SLJCC at the Hans Beuschkens Culinary Challenge, with Mentor Chef Alan Orreal, and also representatives from Australia & Fiji.

Chefs Guild of Lanka gets 10 minutes to show the world the great work done back home.
Here's a picture of the Chefs of the World representing 71 nations, with 850 in attendance.

All pictures extracted from www.wacs2000.org

14 May 2008

Ivo in action at the Hans Beuschkens Competition...

Congratulations for having brought home a Bronze medal for Sri Lanka at your first international competition.
In fact, Ivo is the FIRST SriLankan to be awarded a medal at the Hans Beuschkens Competition.

08 May 2008

Representing Sri Lanka, 22 year-old Junior Chef Ivo Jesudasan of Hilton Residencies, will be in Dubai to compete in the Hans Beuschkens Memorial Trophy. He's been hard at work training and practising for this complex and difficult mystery basket competition.

Ivo will have to complete 3 courses for 6 people in just 3.5 hours. To find out more about this competition and what's happening at WACS Congress in Dubai, please click here.

We wish Ivo the very best, we know you will give your utmost and will bring glory to Sri Lanka. No pressure. LOL
WACS extends help to victims of Cyclone Nargis

Cyclone Nargis was a strong tropical cyclone that made landfall in Burma (also known as Myanmar) on May 2, 2008, causing catastrophic destruction and at least 22,500 fatalities with a further 41,000 people still missing, and estimates on the final total of fatalities ranging up to 100,000. It is the deadliest named cyclone in the North Indian Ocean Basin, as well as the second deadliest named cyclone of all time, behind Typhoon Nina. Including unnamed storms, Nargis is the 12th deadliest cyclone of all time. Nargis was the first tropical cyclone to strike the country since Cyclone Mala made landfall in 2006.

From Continental Director for Asia, Chef John Sloane:

Dear All,

The Information I have just been able to get. Please note that for the Asia Pacific & Africa Region, I have appointed Mr Kurt Brueschweiler kurt.brueschweiler@piac.aero who is residing in Karachi to help me coordinate efforts. He was long time resident in Myanmar and knows Oliver very well along chefs etc on the ground there.

As you can see bank details are attached:

Hilfe für Entwicklungsländer e.V action myanmar

Mallu und Dr. med. Werner Heller

Wildenbruchstr.66, 40545 Düsseldorf

Tel.: +49(0)211 55 47 69

Fax: +49(0)211 55 80 107

Dresdner Bank Düsseldorf

BLZ 300 800 00

Kto.-Nr. 36565000


IBAN DE62 3008 0000 0365 6500 00

To all World Wide Presidents: I seek you cooperation to help in this time of need for Myanmar.


John Sloane

Continental Director Asia

World Association of Chefs Societies

03 April 2008

Minister for Sports & Aviation, President Rajapaksa eldest brother and Deputy Minister for Ports & Aviation visited SriLankan Catering today.
The Ministers enjoyed the tour and a brief lunch with the executives before taking time out to meet some of the staff.
Here's a picture of the SLJCC members, taken with the Ministers and Executive Chef of SriLankan Catering, Alan Orreal.

Front Row, Centre: Hon.Minister Chamal Jayantha RajapaksaMinister of Ports & Aviation and Irrigation & Water Management

Front Row, Right: Hon Deputy Minister Sarath Kumara GunaratneDeputy Minister of Aviation