My food is fragrant and complex, yet also familiar. I promise it will excite your tastebuds and nourish your soul. My parents are both Sri lankan, and so I have grown-up knowing the potential for spices to add multiple dimensions of well-balanced flavour to any dish. I believe that using flavour in this way brings out the best in people - experimentation, empathy, sensuality and love.
2. Local produce
One of the best things growing up in a small Taranaki community was that my dad's patients would often drop by with bags of fruit and vegetables from their garden as well as whitebait, crayfish, paua - all the offerings of the sea. This generosity has inspired me to always try and use local, seasonal products. Here in Lyttelton we are lucky to have in our garden a wonderful selection of fruit trees, vegetables and edible flowers. At the same time, we take great care to choose ethically and organically farmed animal products, with our chickens coming from Westwood Chickens (http://westwoodchickens.com/) and all our other meat and eggs coming from Banfields of Beckenham.
3. All things edible
As a keen creative soul I like my food to look beautiful. At the same time, however, I feel it is important to only put something on the plate if it adds to the flavour and texture of the dish, not just for looks. The goal is to produce beautiful yet uncomplicated-looking food, with a depth of flavour that belies this outward simplicity.
4. Food that brings people together
One of the blessings of growing up in a Sri Lankan family is to have witnessed first hand the way in which food is celebrated amongst family and friends. My parents would always go the extra mile to ensure all our guests never went hungry. Even more than mastering the art of cooking, this passion for hospitality and feeding people is my number one reason for wanting to succeed in the food industry.
5. Nostalgia for a bygone era
My very first memories of baking come from time spent with my Nana Mary, a beautiful lady who befriended my parents when they arrived from Sri Lanka in the early 1970's. She knew me from birth and with great generosity took me under her wing as her willing kitchen helper. These precious memories will always keep my cooking grounded in those bygone days - the perfect base from which to develop my own unique flavour profiles and bring every mouthful right into the 21st century.