From Mahiyanganaya to Mount: Bringing to life the art of ancient Sri Lankan cuisine

Friday, 26 August 2016 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


A group of aprticipating chefs

Untitled-5 Untitled-6 Celebrating 210 years of history and colonial heritage, Mount Lavinia Hotel has been a pioneer in promoting traditional Sri Lankan cuisine to the world. In celebration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People on 9 August, the hotel facilitated a unique workshop themed ‘The Evolution of Sri Lankan Cuisine’. The workshop introduced the gastronomy of the ‘Aadi Vaasi’, commonly known as ‘Veddhas’ to the modern hotel industry.

Conducted by Mount Lavinia Hotel’s own culinary master Chef Publis Silva, 40 chefs from the industry experienced the era of ‘Veddhas’, as they were shown the ingredients and methods used by them to prepare their meals during their epoch.

The use of native ingredients guarantees that authentic Sri Lankan cuisine remains healthy. The traditional art of preparing these dishes is a blend with nature which has been brought down throughout centuries. “We are one of the very few countries whose cuisine can be created completely with natural ingredients. The Veddhas still keep to these methods and it is a pleasure to learn from them and share the knowledge with our fellow chefs,” commented Chef Publis. 

He interactively demonstrated the preparation of a series of dishes. The main focus was on how the ancient methods could be transformed into a modern kitchen, keeping to the authentic taste and texture.

Representatives of the Veddha community from Mahiyanganaya too were invited by Mount Lavinia Hotel to celebrate the special day dedicated to them. They had a unique experience arriving at a star class hotel, mingling with guests and sharing their culture and cuisine.

The workshop was then followed by a cocktail and dinner which was attended by the in-house guests, media and corporate clients. The ‘Kiri Korahan’ dance performed by the Veddhi tribe was the highlight of the night.

Mount Lavinia Hotel always aims to create novel events. Going beyond providing excellent hospitality, and Food and Beverage experiences to local and international guests, workshops such as ‘The Evolution of Sri Lankan Cuisine’ enriches the industry. The knowledge sharing and fellowship among chefs is key to the development of tourism as a whole for the country.

Commenting on the experience they received, Chef Nirosha Nilmini from Hotel Pegasus Reef stated, “Special thanks to Chef Publis Silva and to everyone who gave us an opportunity to attend this workshop. It was a very interactive and knowledgeable session on the Evolution of Sri Lankan Cuisine. Once again thank you very much for organising a great event.” 

The event was brought forward by the Management Trainees of Mount Lavinia Hotel, as a special project in their training module. “The whole experience of organising such an event has been truly educational. This project is the second of its kind, the first being the ‘Rasa Athi Guna Sapiri Avurudu Kevili’, a workshop  on healthy sweet-meats during the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. 

“The Evolution of Sri Lankan Cuisine’ took us a step ahead, as we had to source the support of the Veddhas which meant travelling to Ratugala and Mahiyanganaya, communicating with them and experiencing their life-style first-hand,” commented Chef Publis on behalf of the team. “The endorsement we received from Sri Lanka Tourism and the enthusiastic participation of fellow hoteliers contributed to the success of the project and we look forward to be pioneers in curating such unique experiences to the industry,” he further added.