If there is one person whose name is synonymous with food from Sri Lanka it is Dr. Publis Silva of Mount Lavinia Hotel. While many chefs tried to pamper foreign tourists with food from their respective countries, Publis had one vision - promoting Sri Lankan food to the world.
Those who came from overseas learned to appreciate our food and the taste and aroma of freshly cooked vegetables spiced with exotic produce from a variety of vegetation. Publis says that as one who has travelled to many parts of the world as a chef, he has never seen in any other part of the world such superior cooking as Sri Lankan food.
He adds that coupled with vegetation where every plant in the island is of some use to man, the range is limitless. He uses his knowledge of history, vegetation and craft to create an atmosphere and unparalleled experience in culinary art. He laments that today instant food is being promoted and the ancient craft of food preparation is being lost amidst myriad preparations and colourful packeted or bottled varieties easily available on supermarket shelves.
Publis has now used his expertise to produce a new book, Sri Lankave Ivum Pihum (The Food of Sri Lanka) in which his versatility and craftsmanship are fully utilized to bring forth the wide variety of dishes which can be produced using simple ingredients. Age old recipes and innovations mingle together under his nimble hands as he creates dishes which appeal to the palates and symbolizes all that is rich in Sri Lankan food.
The book itself is not merely a collection of recipes but contains helpful details of various ingredients, plus the nutrients needed to have a healthy life. The book which is illustrated with lavish colour photographs of some of the recipes also has practical details ranging from the type of cupboards built in the kitchen to waste disposal.
The book is a treasure trove not only for Sri Lankans but those living overseas. The book has been released in time for the festive season and contains 345 pages in a large format paperback and is priced at a modest Rs.975. An English translation is due in 2011.