Food for thought

By Tahnee Hopman

By day, Ruwanthi Elwalagedara is a Research Officer for a health policy research organization. By night, and occasionally the ungodly hours of the morning, she de-stresses in her kitchen.“It has always been like that for me,” she says. When I am tired or stressed, I cook and it does me good.”

A small church fundraiser pointed out to Ruwanthi that her hobby could be turned into a lucrative venture. Having baked some of her favourite brownies for the sale, Ruwanthi was delighted at the enthusiastic response she received, when customers at the sale called her back and ordered batches of brownies for Christmas.

What followed was the starting up of Ru’s Kitchen. Four months down the line, a few random orders for brownies became frequent requests. “I was very surprised by the response I got,” exclaims Ruwanthi. “There are many people who do what I do and I never expected my little part time business to become so popular, so soon!”

Ever the cautious Research Officer however, Ruwanthi patiently watches her business as it grows, before deciding how she will expand. “I want to see if I am able to handle a bigger workload without compromising the quality of my work,” she explains. “And it is important that however I decide to expand, the enjoyment I get from the work must not be taken away.”

Operating through word of mouth and email, Ru’s Kitchen provides a variety of culinary indulgences- from brownies and cookies to savoury party food. “I’ve decided to keep things simple for the moment; so that I can get into the rhythm of the catering business properly,” says Ruwanthi.

A firm believer that good food must be appreciated without too much cost, Ruwanthi has maintained attractive low prices for her cooking and baking. “It is something I have always stood by. I don’t want people to enjoy food but at the back of their minds, worry about the price they have to pay. So the profit margin here is not very big but the enjoyment I get out of the work, is worth it.”

Recuperating after a long day of work, Ruwanthi enjoys quality time cooking with her mother who has been extremely supportive of her work. “She helps me a lot and I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish all this without her.”

Orders from Ru’s Kitchen can be placed with Ruwanthi who can be contacted on rukitchen@gmail.com.

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