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GOURMET GURU

CULINARY FINESSE

UPUL BANDARA

Upul Bandara is the Executive Chef at Tintagel Colombo. A dynamic chef whose creativity knows no bounds, Bandara is known for his culinary finesse and is a staunch advocate of constant learning for professional development. He doesn’t settle for shortcuts when it comes to preparing food and astounds diners with his delicious meals.

CITY OF ORIGIN
Kandy

FAMILY
Wife and son

LEISURE HOURS
Swimming
Gardening
Researching online

FAVOURITE DISH Spaghetti aglio olio e peperoncino – a traditional Italian pasta dish

FAVOURITE DRINK
Wood apple smoothie

MAJOR AWARDS
Won three medals – two silvers and a bronze – at the Emirates Salon Culinaire (ESC) 2010 organised by the Emirates Culi------nary Guild (ECG) in the UAE.

HIMSELF IN ONE WORD
Creative

– Compiled by Andrea Melisa

Q: Who inspired you to venture into the hospitality trade?
A: My elder sister inspired me to follow my passion and venture into the food sector. I began my culinary training in 1992.

Q: And your first dish was...
A: Grilled seer fish with lemon butter sauce.

Q: How does your day unfold?
A: I bless my son before he goes to school and then enjoy a delicious cup of tea prepared by my wife, help with the household chores for an hour and report to work at 10 a.m. I begin with a quick supervisory round to ensure that everything is in order, and then check the list of orders and events that we have to cater for in the day ahead. Apart from supervising kitchen operations, my special functions as head chef prior to starting culinary work include approving store and market orders, and ensuring that members of my staff are present for duty.

Q: What do you consider your grea---test achievement as a chef?
A: I won two silver medals and a bronze at the Emirates Salon Culinaire (ESC) 2010 organised by the Emirates Culinary Guild (ECG), which is an association of professional chefs in the UAE.

Q: Tell us about the greatest challenge you have faced as a chef…
A: During my stint as an operations chef at the Al Ain Rotana hotel, I was assigned the task of catering for eight functions including an outdoor event with a combined strength of 2,600 guests – yes, all in one day!

Q: What are the emerging trends in the industry?
A: Eastern and European fusion cooking is currently taking the industry by storm. Additionally, incorporating vegan options in restaurant menus has become essential.

Q: Would you have any advice for the home cooks amongst us?
A: Plan healthy menus based on the food choices and requirements of your family members. Always purchase fresh ingredients for the household.

Q: Do you have any cooking tips or tricks?
A: Always keep a standard set of seasoning that blends with the food. Try and preserve the natural flavour of food as far as possible. Use herbs and spices to garnish any dish, and make a spectacular presentation!

Q: What are your three favourite ingredients?
A: Garlic, onions and lemons.

Q: Name three favourite utensils that you can’t do without...
A: A knife, chopping board and pair of tongs.

Q: What are your future plans?
A: I would love to create healthy new dishes and recipes that will take modern cookery to a new level. I hope to do this in consultation with the Chairman and Head of Design at Paradise Road Group of Companies Udayshanth Fernando – he is a visionary and legend in creativity.

Q: Your advice to aspiring chefs would be…?
A: Always put your heart and soul into the food you prepare. And constantly update your knowledge to keep pace with evolving culinary and hospitality industry trends.

 
SIGNATURE
DISH

 
INGREDIENTS

150g
1tsp
50ml
50ml
1tsp
250ml
20g
20g
1
2
20g
150g
30g
1
1
5
2

___

pork belly
corn oil
dark soya suce
Chinese wine
sesame oil
water
ginger
red onions
cinnamon stick
star anise
brown sugar
potatoes
onions
olive oil
egg
garlic cloves
parsley sprigs salt and pepper to taste

RECIPE ___

Boil the pork belly for five minutes. Simultaneously heat the corn oil, parsley and thyme until the fragrance diffuses. Then add the dark soya sauce, Chinese wine, sesame oil, water, herbs and spices. Place the pork belly in this concoction and braise for about an hour until the pork is tender. Poach the egg in the meantime.

In another pan, toss the potatoes, onions, garlic and parsley with a dash of olive oil, salt and pepper. Keep tossing until the mixture turns golden brown. Crush the lot while it is hot.

Put the pork belly on the potato mixture, and place the poached egg and ginger mayonnaise (a mix of grated ginger and mayonnaise) over it. Garnish options include a sprig of thyme, some braised cabbage and natural gravy.

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