Chef Gary Mehigan explores Sri Lanka’s cuisine, culture and scenery through Cinnamon Hotels & Resort

Gary Mehigan, the distinguished British-Australian celebrity chef and
former original judge of MasterChef Australia, embarked on a profound weeklong exploration through the enchanting landscapes of Sri Lanka.

This immersive journey followed a remarkable 3-day culinary experience hosted in collaboration with Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts.

Immersing himself in the essence of Sri Lankan cuisine, culture, and history, Gary traversed the island, reveling in warm hospitality at every turn while staying at several of Cinnamon’s resorts.

Before bidding farewell and jetting off to his next endeavor, he took a moment to reflect on his transformative week, offering insights into the heart of his experience beyond the city limits. Culinary Roots and Exploration towards Asian cuisine.

During his interview, Gary traced his culinary journey that initially took root in classic French cuisine and later blossomed into an exploration of Asian flavors reflecting on how his diverse experiences in varied kitchens were integral in his defining his career.

“I was working in a hotel in London, which happened to be the first to introduce a sushi counter. After two years, Australia beckoned to me, perhaps due to its proximity to Asia and my interest in Asian cuisines, which were not as prevalent in London at the time. Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, and Chinese dishes captivated me and diverse experiences in kitchens around the globe, coupled with my passion for global flavors, have collectively shaped the chef I am today,” he said.

Discovering Sri Lanka: A Feast for the Senses

Gary expressed his awe at the unique charm of Sri Lanka, surpassing his expectations. The warm-hearted people, distinct cultural experiences, and breathtaking landscapes left a mark on him. "Sri Lanka is like describing a fireworks display, each aspect more beautiful than the last," he exclaimed.

He explained that the landscapes have been stunning, from Habarana to Kandy, with a visit to Sigiriya. And that climbing Sigiriya was a wonderful experience, as he loves luscious scenic views from atop. He reflected on the trip from Habarana to Kandy showcasing endless mountains, with the weather, including some rain, adding to the charm.

“Kandy, with its tooth relic temple, was a beautiful town to explore. The tooth relic temple itself was a grand place of worship with a strong sense of history. The spice garden visit in Kandy was skipped since I've been to many before on other countries. The train ride from Kandy, while missed this time, is on the agenda for the next visit,” Gary further expressed.

Reflecting on highlights from his trip, Gary mentioned the village tour in Habarana, “I loved that experience. The local, traditional ingredients, the communal atmosphere. The traditional hearth made of lathe and plaster, the cow dung floor, and the beautifully cooked dishes, like the aromatic curry made with fresh coconut milk. It was a truly delightful experience!” he said enthusiastically.

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