Tell us little about yourself!
Well I have had a passion for cooking since I was very young. Having qualified as a chef and completed a hotel management course I set out into the world initially working for the Hilton group in Sydney and Melbourne. Australia opened my eyes to different types of food and ingredients and allowed me to explore and create via imagination and also to experiment with flavours. On my return to the UK where food was just starting to boom, I worked as a chef in various hotels and high end restaurants.
During the mid-nineties I moved into management and worked for British Airways catering and then started to manage Airport restaurants within the UK. This gave me an incredible training platform to work with very talented people and attain invaluable experience to manage in an extremely busy environment.
After many years working for airport restaurants, I commenced employment as an operations manager at the Hard Rock café London. For me, this was the perfect job. I could be myself and they encouraged my wacky personality and suddenly I fitted in. Worked in many Hard Rock cafes from London, Barcelona, Madrid, Las Vegas and Orlando.
Then came an opportunity to build and manage a luxury business boutique hotel in Sri Lanka. Wow, what an experience. Working for a local company called Citrus and having the pleasure of working with dynamic and such talented people.
How did you end up in Valencia?
I came to Valencia in March 2016 to follow my dream of opening a chain of restaurants here. I have been in love with this beautiful country since I first arrived in Madrid during the late nineties. The weather, people, food and relaxed life style suits me perfectly. I call it home. Valencia has exceeded my expectations.
What are your thoughts about Spanish way of life?
Spanish life is amazing, its laid back and Valencia where I live is definitely the California of Europe. It also depends on the individual. Having travelled to many countries I truly believe that whichever land you call home, then you must seize the lifestyle and embrace it fully.
I know you have travelled a lot. Is there something special in Valencia you haven´t seen anywhere else in the world?
Agua de Valencia. I love it!!!
What can you tell us about Sri Lankan food?
Where do I start?
To begin, Sri Lankan food is completely different from Indian food. With so many cultural and European influences such as the early Portuguese, Dutch and British settlers that have contributed to make Sri Lankan cuisine one of the mysteries waiting to be discovered internationally. The curries are coconut based and have a greater blend of flavours and textures. Unusual products are used such as jack fruit, bitter gote, okra, rampe, wood apple, fresh coconut, cucumber curry, mango curry, to name a few. The food is very healthy and have healing qualities when spices are blended e.g. turmeric, cardomen, garlic, coriander, coconut oil etc.
The food is tasty and a huge variety can be found. My favourite is street food, where kothu roti, string hoppers, egg hoppers, Jaffna crab curry and many more delicious dishes can be found.
I have heard that there are not so many Sri Lankan restaurants in Spain…
That’s true, we are actually the first and we never knew it. As I mentioned earlier it is a cuisine waiting to be discovered and we just want to put it on the map. I think it’s time for a food revolution in Spain.
How comes, that we always meet some expats in Barceilan?
Expats love Barceilan. We like to believe that our offer is different and unique in terms of food and atmosphere. Lots of guests like our music too .
How do you see your future in Valencia?
Que sera sera…..
And finally, your advice to other expats considering moving to Valencia?
Don’t look back. Just do it. Valencia is the best city to live in.
Llosa de Ranes, 3