TOWN OF ORIGIN
Wife and two kids
Spending time with his family
King coconut water
HIMSELF IN ONE WORD
Chef Sanjeewa Jayasinghe is the Executive Sous-Chef at Cinnamon Citadel. He has a passion for food, enjoys experimenting with flavours and cuisines, and loves different types of salt. His attention to detail is reflected in his delectable culinary creations and presentation.
Q: Who inspired you to venture into hospitality?
A: The hospitality trade has fascinated me for as long as I can remember. So it was only to be expected that I would follow my passion. Moreover, many of my friends had joined hotel schools upon completing their secondary education and that further encouraged me to dive into the trade.
Q: So how does your day as a chef unfold?
A: My day in the kitchen begins at 6 a.m. It’s my job to supervise and ensure everything is in order, and that the ‘Cinnamon standard’ is always maintained. Apart from taking basic inventory and planning food orders, I make it a point to ensure that every guest is taken care of individually.
Q: What was your first dish?
A: I started by preparing contemporary Sri Lankan dishes – and pol sambol was the first.
Q: And what do you consider your greatest achievement as a chef?
A: My greatest achievement was when I was named runner-up at a culinary competition in Dubai in 2010.
Q: What’s the most challenging cuisine you’ve prepared?
A: It depends on the dish, really. But I think Asian cuisine is more challenging – Indian dishes in particular because it’s essential to get the right flavours and taste to meet the expectations of our clientele.
Q: Tell us about some of the emerging trends in food and drink...
A: The industry is veering towards fresh and nutritious food. People are beginning to appreciate simple food with high nutritive value.
Q: What are your favourite ingredients and why?
A: I love salt. There are about 12 different varieties of salt that enhance dishes in different ways. I use a collection of salts including Himalayan pink salt, rock salt and black salt in my cooking, and absolutely love experimenting with their subtle flavours. I also like to use a variety of Sri Lankan spices in my dishes.
Q: Name three favourite utensils that you cannot do without…
A: A knife, kitchen tongs and a sauce spoon.
Q: Do you have any cooking tips or tricks?
A: Timing is crucial when it comes to cooking. It’s important to add the right ingredients at the right time as this will determine the turnout or taste of the dish as a whole. You’ll be surprised at how different a dish tastes depending on when certain flavours are added.
Q: And your advice to aspiring chefs would be…?
A: I assure you that if you’re interested and have the talent to be creative, you can go a long way and pave your own path in this field.
BRAISED LAMB SHANK SERVED WITH GRILLED
POLENTA, BABY VEGETABLES AND LAMB JUS
BLACK PORK CURRY
Crush the cardamom, black pepper and cinnamon, and mix in the curry powder, salt, chilli powder and cayenne pepper to make a powder. Add the tama-rind paste and a tablespoon of oil, and coat the pork with the paste and marinate it overnight. Heat the remaining oil in a saucepan and add the curry leaves, and half the chopped onion and ginger. Sauté till the onion becomes trans-lucent. Add the garlic and green chilli, and sauté for 30 seconds. Stir in the pork and sugar. Add water, bring it to a boil and lower the heat, and simmer the lot for an hour.
Marinate the mushrooms with half a teaspoon each of turmeric and salt. Soak the mustard in vinegar and shallow fry the mushrooms. Take them out and add the ginger garlic paste, the remaining onions, curry leaves, green chillies and tomato. Add salt and cook until it is thick. Mix in the remaining ingredients and bring it to a boil. Add the mush-rooms, mix well and simmer it all till the gravy has been absorbed.
Serve with pittu.