What made you choose cooking as a career and how did your career progress?
I first enjoyed cooking while a member of the Scouts whereby we could get a medal for cooking –it sparked my interest from an early age. After completing my three year
apprenticeship in cooking I specialised an additional year for a diploma in pastry. I worked for a number of top class hotels in my home country of Sri Lanka before travelling the world, experiencing new cuisines and gaining more experience. I came to Cayman in 2006 and began working for Grand Old House in 2007.
What’s your signature style of cuisine and how has it evolved over the years?
I love to experiment with new ideas, flavours, styles and presentations. Since I’ve lived in Cayman I have enjoyed seeing what local people enjoy eating most and then giving it a modern twist. For example, stewed conch is really popular here, so I use it with roasted eggplant to make a great hot appetiser.
Do you cook at home? If so, what do you like to cook?
I love to cook at home for myself and my family. We eat mainly vegetarian food with some fish but not too much meat. I love the food of the Cayman Islands particularly the fruits and vegetables as they are quite similar to what we have in Sri Lanka, such as okra, eggplant, jackfruit, breadfruit and coconuts.
What’s your favourite restaurant on-island (other than your own!) and why?
I like to eat at different places because I love the variety of cuisines on offer here. Some of my
favourite places include The Wharf, Ortanique, Michaels and Blue at The Ritz-Carlton.
What’s your favourite restaurant anywhere in the world and why?
New York City restaurants are among my favourites. There is so much competition there from some great chefs. I believe that this elevates the level of cuisine. The food there is inspiring.
Do you watch TV chefs? If so, who is your favourite and why?
Sometimes. I particularly like Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsay, which I think is really good. I like his style – the way he goes into a restaurant and cuts the menu choices down. Too many restaurants have menus that are too long and over-complicated and it takes the customer half an hour to read them! I like simplicity. I also like the way that he is a perfectionist. I always try and put myself in the seat of the customer and always try to ensure that only the best food goes out to the table.
Do you have a particular favourite cookery book? If so, which one?
Under Pressure by Thomas Keller. He has great techniques and shows you how to create simple recipes and then take them to the next level.