Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)
A Camellia Epicurean Dinner
Celebrating the Most Experienced Teamaker in the World
Continuing a tradition of Camellia sinensis – tea - inspired gastronomy that began a decade ago, Dilmah strengthened the brand’s collaboration with Sri Lankan Chefs, Gastronomy and Tea at a uniquely tea inspired event. Chef Kapila Jayasinghe was invited to produce a very special edition of Camellia Epicurean to commemorate Founder & Teamaker Merrill J. Fernando’s 70 years in tea.
Every element from aperitif to digestif, was inspired by one of the 3 special teas picked by Merrill’s sons, Dilhan and Malik Fernando. The tea gastronomy and mixology menu was designed by Chef Kapila Jayasinghe, showcasing Passion and Taste highlighting Sri Lankan culinary talent, combined with Goodness with the respect for tea, and Purpose by inviting all those who attended to look beyond disability with a special guest performance.
The name Camellia Epicurean, derived from Camellia sinensis – the scientific name for tea - is innovation that respects tea in flavour, aroma and goodness. The tea inspired gastronomy concept was pioneered by Dilmah in 2010. Chef Kapila’s menu included three commemorative teas that were produced especiallyfor the Founder on his 90th birthday. His younger son, Dilhan said, “Tonight we celebrate the passion of the world’s most experienced teamaker in service. Passion, because it is an appreciation of my father’s 70 years in tea which is a global achievement by any measure, and it is one that is reflected in some of the teas that we are tasting today. It is also a celebration of taste because we have Sri Lankan Chefs presenting an entirely Sri Lankan expression of the culinary art.”
The event flowed into a rhythmic tribute by Maestro Ravibandhu Vidyapathy followed by unique drumming compositions paired with the spirit of each brew – a performance inspired by Dilmah’s innovative concept, ‘Tea in Five Senses’. The dinner featured decadent culinary art combined with unique ingredients, such as a hundred-year aged balsamic and crustacean fumet infused with tea, and included a toast with nitrogen gas-infused tea champagne.
The evening reached a crescendo with a special performance by youth from the MJF Charitable Foundation’s Rainbow Kids programme, mentored by Ravibandhu, who showcased their art in music. The Teamaker to whom all this praise was given, concluded the night by giving thanks to the Lord, all those who attended, but more strikingly had this to say; “The accolades and all praise given to me, is actually deserved by Ceylon Tea. Every farmer comes to the realisation that it is heaven and earth that crafts tea, our role is only to finish what nature has done in the leaf”.