Celebrity Chef Gary Mehigan Explores Sri Lanka’s Cuisine, Culture and Scenery through Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts

Gary Mehigan, the distinguished British-Australian celebrity chef and former original judge of MasterChef Australia, embarked on a profound weeklong exploration through the enchanting landscapes of Sri Lanka. This immersive journey followed a remarkable 3-day culinary experience hosted in collaboration with Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts.

Immersing himself in the essence of Sri Lankan cuisine, culture, and history, Gary traversed the island, reveling in warm hospitality at every turn while staying at several of Cinnamon’s resorts. Before bidding farewell and jetting off to his next endeavor, he took a moment to reflect on his transformative week, offering insights into the heart of his experience beyond the city limits.

Culinary Roots and Exploration towards Asian cuisine

During his interview, Gary traced his culinary journey that initially took root in classic French cuisine and later blossomed into an exploration of Asian flavors reflecting on how his diverse experiences in varied kitchens were integral in his defining his career.

“I was working in a hotel in London, which happened to be the first to introduce a sushi counter. After two years, Australia beckoned to me, perhaps due to its proximity to Asia and my interest in Asian cuisines, which were not as prevalent in London at the time. Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, and Chinese dishes captivated me and diverse experiences in kitchens around the globe, coupled with my passion for global flavors, have collectively shaped the chef I am today,” he said.

Discovering Sri Lanka: A Feast for the Senses

Gary expressed his awe at the unique charm of Sri Lanka, surpassing his expectations. The warm-hearted people, distinct cultural experiences, and breathtaking landscapes left a mark on him. “Sri Lanka is like describing a fireworks display, each aspect more beautiful than the last,” he exclaimed.

He explained that the landscapes have been stunning, from Habarana to Kandy, with a visit to Sigiriya. And that climbing Sigiriya was a wonderful experience, as he loves luscious scenic views from atop. He reflected on the trip from Habarana to Kandy showcasing endless mountains, with the weather, including some rain, adding to the charm.

“Kandy, with its tooth relic temple, was a beautiful town to explore. The tooth relic temple itself was a grand place of worship with a strong sense of history. The spice garden visit in Kandy was skipped since I’ve been to many before on other countries. The train ride from Kandy, while missed this time, is on the agenda for the next visit,” Gary further expressed.

Reflecting on highlights from his trip, Gary mentioned the village tour in Habarana, “I loved that experience. The local, traditional ingredients, the communal atmosphere. The traditional hearth made of lathe and plaster, the cow dung floor, and the beautifully cooked dishes, like the aromatic curry made with fresh coconut milk. It was a truly delightful experience!” he said enthusiastically.

“Overall, Sri Lanka’s diversity, from beaches to mountains, rainforests to ancient ruins, was a unique experience. It’s a small country, but in a matter of hours, you can unlock different habitats and exposures, making it a truly remarkable destination,” he mentioned thoughtfully.

Culinary Inspiration: Bringing Sri Lanka to the Kitchen

Gary was particularly taken by Sri Lankan culinary practices, including hoppers, various sambals, and the unique way of eating lunch with rice and multiple dishes. He expressed a desire to incorporate these practices into his own cooking back home, noting the distinctive flavors achieved through careful spice control and layering.

“I’ve enjoyed a variety of dishes, from banana blossom to coconut-based creations and spicy aromatics. Even simple dishes like  cashews and pea curry are extraordinary. The fresh sambal with carrot and coconut is vibrant, colorful, and healthy. Sri Lankan cuisine emphasizes a balanced approach, and I’ve found it to be not just delicious but also healthy,” he reveals.

The celebrity chef was enthusiastic about recreating Sri Lankan dishes, such as the dark, toasty pork curry, and shared plans to experiment with the intricate process of pushing spices for optimal flavor. “I’m eager to recreate the distinctive Sri Lankan Black Pork Curry, a recent revelation from my visit. The process of pushing roasted rice curry powder, emphasizing layers of flavor and achieving a rich, toasty curry was fascinating because my version was to get the color through adding pepper instead” Gary remarked.

Future Exploration and Recommendations

Looking ahead, Gary expressed his intent to revisit Sri Lanka, with plans to stay at Cinnamon Bentota Beach Hotel again and even explore new destinations like Trincomalee. He encouraged others to consider Sri Lanka as a travel destination, describing it as “beautiful beaches, beautiful rainforests, and beautiful people” that rival popular tourist destinations in the region.

“In Sri Lanka, people quick to greet and showcase hospitality. Within the Cinnamon Hotels, the staff is impressively eager to please, with its warm and attentive nature. There is a keen eagerness to rejuvenate tourism, with collective efforts from everyone involved. The current drive is something that all individuals here are actively backing. Even at Cinnamon, I’ve observed a dedication to achieving excellence, maintaining high standards in kitchens and cleanliness that align with Australia’s rigorous regulations,” he observed.

In conclusion, Mehigan’s culinary journey in Sri Lanka encapsulates a fusion of flavors, cultural exploration, and genuine admiration for the country’s diverse offerings. The collaboration with Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts has not only showcased Sri Lanka’s culinary prowess but has also paved the way for future culinary explorations by international chefs.

“It’s not on the radar for many in Australia to visit here, even though there are lots of Sri Lankans there. It’s not something many consider. But a lot of people go to Bali, Thailand, Vietnam, and they’ve probably been there before they think of coming to Sri Lanka. But they should because Sri Lanka is a country you come back for more after one visit!” Gary quipped.

The post Celebrity Chef Gary Mehigan Explores Sri Lanka’s Cuisine, Culture and Scenery through Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts appeared first on Adaderana Biz English | Sri Lanka Business News.

Source From biz.adaderana
Author: Bizweb2 Bizweb2
#SriLanka #News #lka