Living (Sri Lanka)

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

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Breakfast for dinner or dinner for breakfast

Dinner for breakfast

Soup or salad

Soup Baked or fried

Fried Chocolate or vanilla Chocolate Netflix or cable Netflix

Facebook or Instagram

Instagram Online or offline Offline

Beach or mountains

Mountains Ride or drive Drive

Truth or dare

Dare

Dress up or dress down

Dress down

Lipstick or mascara

Mascara Diamonds or pearls Diamonds

Work or play

A combinatio­n of both

I’VE ALWAYS LOVED COOKING; AND EVEN WHILE PRACTISING IN MY FIELD OF ENGINEERIN­G AND CONSULTING, I WAS ALWAYS THINKING ABOUT FOOD

Q: How does one go from obtaining a degree in chemical engineerin­g to wanting to open your own Sri Lankan fusion food restaurant? Was this brought on by your MasterChef experience or were there other factors that contribute­d to it?

A: I’ve always loved cooking; and even while practising in my field of engineerin­g and consulting, I was always thinking about food – it brought me a lot of joy.

Many people believe that a hobby can’t become your career but I think differentl­y.

MasterChef definitely proved to me that I could follow my passion and make it a livelihood. I felt like I needed to take part in that programme; because if I didn’t go through the MasterChef journey, I don’t think I’d have taken that leap.

Q: What were your initial thoughts when you realised that you’d been selected to take part in MasterChef?

A: I was ecstatic and didn’t think it was real!

Having watched the show for so many years, I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that I’d get a chance to cook on it. Even walking into the MasterChef kitchen was euphoric and it has never stopped feeling cool!

Q: Was there ever a challenge on the show that you wish you could have handled differentl­y – and if so how?

A: Probably the one with Poh Ling Yeow, Callum Hann and Reynold Poernomo. I was star-struck because they are what you would consider MasterChef royalty; and looking back at what I served, it didn’t feel authentic to me.

Even though I was busy trying to impress the judges, I didn’t present a dish that I was happy with.

I decided that if I do get the chance to go back, it would be to make sure that what I prepare is a true reflection of me as a cook and that the flavours I love are incorporat­ed in my food. Because if it’s not unique to you, why would anyone want to try your dishes?

Q: And what was the most memorable critique you’ve had on the show?

A: An imbalance of flavours is probably what had me eliminated from the show. Balancing flavours when cooking Sri Lankan food is something I’ve always taken for granted because it comes naturally to me.

But the judges said that my dish was quite jarring; and it was only after I was eliminated that I realised it was indeed jarring on the palate because I didn’t balance all the flavours in it.

However, it was a valuable lesson – one that has definitely contribute­d to improving the quality of my food.

Q: When it comes to creating flavours, what are your go-to ingredient­s?

A: Salt, chillies, oil and coconut.

Q: If you could pick any culinary connoisseu­r you’d like

to work with, who would it be and why?

A: I’m a big fan of Massimo Bottura. I love the way he thinks and how he lets his palate create his dishes. And I’m simply mesmerised by how his brain works. So he’s someone I’d really love to work with and learn from.

EVEN WALKING INTO THE MASTERCHEF KITCHEN WAS EUPHORIC AND IT HAS NEVER STOPPED FEELING COOL

Q:

A: I feel that eschewing all attachment­s to material things, and simply being present in the moment, is what brings true happiness and joy.

What’s your definition of ‘happiness’?

Q:

A: I think they’d say that I’m kind and a good listener – I give people my time because I expect the same from them. They may also say that I’m messy in the kitchen!

How would your family and friends describe you?

Q: If you find yourself stranded alone on a desert island, what are the five most important things you’d need?

A: A good book, a good knife, a hat, something to filter seawater and some clothes.

Q:

A: It should be something quite chilled where we could have an actual conversati­on.

I also like engaging in fun activity on a date so that there aren’t any awkward silences and we would get to learn about each other while enjoying ourselves.

Describe your ideal date… Q: If you could become an ambassador for a global cause, what would it be and why?

A: It would definitely be for mental health. It’s an area that impacts so many people and we need to create more awareness on the topic especially considerin­g how our actions can affect another’s life.

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