ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday June 01, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 53
TV Times  

‘Jetwing Go Sri Lankan Culinary Challenge 2008’

'Madu Thalapa', 'Bathala Roti', 'Embul Thiyal Maluwa', 'Maikkan Malu', 'Stuffed Pumpkin Leaves' were few of the many delicacies tasted by the invitees at the recently concluded ‘Jetwing Go Sri Lankan Culinary Challenge 2008' held at Jetwing Seashells Negombo. Team of Chefs from 10 Jetwing hotels competed in this competition, the first of its kind, held as part of a project aimed at an effort on preserving the National Culinary Heritage.

Chef Pubilis of Mount Lavinia Hotel, the keynote speaker at the launch of this programme late last year set the tone for the project, making emphasis on the need of preserving a 2500 year old tradition of Sri Lankan cuisine that is not only unique, vivid in many ways, medicinal and probably one of the worlds best, but yet unknown by the international gourmet.

After the launch the team of Chefs went into a lot of research and learned from senior citizens of villages as far away as the remote village of Meemure in the Central Province, Moneragala and Buttala in the deep south for food that were becoming less consumed and disappearing that were later to be reproduced at the competition.

The food was cooked while being judged by the eminent panel of judges that comprised of Senaka Tantrige, former Chief Lecturer and Vice principal of Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management and Lakshman Liyanarachchi, Executive Chef of Ceylon Continental Hotel.

Mr. Tantrige, was all praise for the chefs for the efforts taken and the high level of standards achieved. Chef Pubilis was the Chief Guest at the awards ceremony of the events, while Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Chairman, Renton De Alwis was the Guest of Honour.

Members of the Negombo Hoteliers Association, many tourists and other hotel residents were amongst those distinguished invitees who witnessed the competition with extreme enthusiasm. Chef Pubilis was of the view that we have ignored the goodness of our food that is so curative and healthy and embraced things that are foreign that make our younger generations unhealthy from early ages.

Mr. De Alwis emphasized on the need to give the opportunity to visitors to Sri Lanka to savour our traditional dishes. 'This way we could popularize our cuisine rather than serving them food that they are accustomed to' he added. The objectives of this programme include understanding the correct perspective of Sri Lankan cuisine; giving due place to Sri Lankan dishes in the hotel a la carte menu, knowing our spices better, identifying ethnic, regional and acquired food styles, development of the Sri Lankan kitchen, clearing the myth that Sri Lankan food is excessively pungent to the western palette and recording the learnings for others to refer thereafter.

Ruan Samarasinghe, Managing Director of Jetwing Hotels congratulated the winners of the competition and thanked them immensely for the efforts taken by respective teams, while assuring them of support in their endeavours to make this project fruitful.

The overall winners of 'Go Sri Lankan Challenge 2008' were won by Jetwing Beach, Negombo in a closely contested competition while Jetwing Vil Uyana, Sigiriya came second. The 'Hopper Championship' of the competition, the 'Most Outstanding Discovery', the 'Best Presentation' as well as the 'Best Dessert' was also won by Jetwing Beach.

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