In early May 2014, ten tops chefs from ten different countries travelled to Sri Lanka to meet the teamaker Merrill J. Fernando and to explore the diversity and limitless possibilities of tea and its terroir; and, of course, to cook with tea using it as an ingredient. This travel log documents their expeditions in the land of tea as they get acquainted with the provenance of the finest tea in the world. This is but just a beginning as they take their experience with tea back to the lands whence they came from to create something extraordinary using their talent and the surprising versatility of this simple herb.
The day one of the chefs’ tour is dedicated to getting acquainted with Dilmah Tea. Yesterday, Alan Orreal, the Australian-born Director of Culinary at Shanghai Disney Resort, based in China, created some exquisite tea inspired dishes. Today the chefs meet the Founder of Dilmah Merrill J. Fernando and take a sneak peak in to the complex and beautiful world of the finest Ceylon Tea.More Info
The first day on the road the team heads out to Rilhena Estate famous for its low-grown tea where Chef Jared Ingersoll from Australia will cook with Dilmah Single Region Tea Selection.More Info
At Endane Estate for the day, to trek through the verdant landscape and learn about the conservation efforts of Dilmah. Chef Lula Martin del Campo from Mexico will draw inspiration from her surroundings form her tea culinary demonstration featuring Dilmah Organic Tea.More Info
Chef Matias Palomo from Chile will cook with Dilmah Green Tea at Mankada today while the rest of the chefs learn to master the pottery wheel and later go on safari to spot elephants at the Udawalawe National Park.More Info
Heading up to Nawalapitiya, home to the Craighead Estate renowned for its luxurious white tea and the extremely rare Seasonal Flush. It’s Dutch chef Jeroen van Oijen’s day in the limelight as he cooks up a storm using teas from Dilmah Teamaker’s Private Reserve.More Info
At Somerset Estate off Nuwara Eliya – the region from which comes the high-grown Dilmah Uda Watte tea. Dilhan Fernando will take the chefs through the artisanal process of making Dilmah Tea and chef Jodi-Ann Pearton will cook with Dilmah Watte Range of Teas.More Info
The day’s destination is Ceylon Tea Trails – a cluster of luxurious plantation bungalows nestled in the heart of the spectacular Sri Lankan tea country. A cycle ride, a tea-inspired high tea hosted by the Fernando family and an evening spent in the company of the finest tea is all on the cards. Chefs Andrea Ferrero from Italy and Jarek Uscinski from Poland will be conducting their tea culinary demonstrations today.More Info
Chef Matias travels down South to Cape Weligama – an idyllic seaside resort, for his tea culinary demonstration while the others get acquainted with the old Dutch Fort the sprawls over one corner of the quaint harbour-town Galle.More Info
The team of chefs travel back to Colombo. En route they will stop over at the MJF Centre in Moratuwa where they will meet and spend some time with children from marginalised families whose lives are changing for the better thanks to the MJF Charitable Foundation. Ray McVinnie from New Zealand will showcase his marvellous tea inspired dishes.More Info
The day’s star attraction is Chef Anupam Banerjee who will use Dilmah t-Series in the delicious culinary creations which he is planning to produce for us. Then he will join the rest of the chefs as they prepare to host a tea inspired dinner for the teamaker and the Dilmah Founder Merrill J. Fernando and his family at the Waters Edge.More Info
The Director of Culinary at Shanghai Disney Resort where he is spearheading the project in terms of dining options across the mega resort (due to open in late 2015) Alan Orreal is the very essence of borderless and dynamic modern-day chef. He is the Vice-Chairman of the World Association of Chefs Societies committee for the Global Development of Young Chefs and a WACS-approved judge in addition to being a guest lecturer at food collages across Asia and a TV host and judge of a television reality show that uplifts the lives of underprivileged and homeless teens through education and cooking.
Born in Australia, Chef Alan Orreal has lived and worked in Asia for much of his 25 years in the culinary industry, which included stints in a variety of establishments
ranging from five-star hotels, airline catering, and fine dining restaurants in Singapore, Taiwan, Sri Lanka and Australia. His style of cuisine which can only be described as modern global cuisine is a reflection his dynamic and borderless outlook to his profession.
Chef Alan’s influences are driven very much from the great chefs that he has trained under, including Cheong Liew, Tony Bilson, Otto Weibel and Peter Knipp. Individually, Alan has carried away coveted trophies and medals from numerous culinary events and is without doubt one of the most celebrated culinary professionals in the world today.
Anupam Banerjee is the Executive Chef of the prestigious Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore and is responsible for entire kitchen, menu planning and overseeing the daily culinary operations of all 7 restaurants and bars, in-room dining, catering and special events.
A veteran of luxury hotel kitchens, Chef Banerjee’s enthusiasm for exploring innovative culinary possibilities is well-established and like many of the world’s best culinary artists he is obsessed with fresh ingredients and clean, subtle flavors. After beginning his career at the Oberoi Centre of Learning & Development, Chef Banerjee
spent two years at the historic Raffles hotel in Singapore before moving to Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London which featured one Michelin Star and 4 AA Rosettes. He then moved to Mandarin Oriental, Geneva. Prior to moving to Bangalore Chef Anupam Banerjee was the Executive Chef for Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C
In the past he has been associated with Chef Alain Soliveres in his Michelin-2-Star,Chef Pierre Gagnaire in his 3 Star Michelin , Jeun Fleury, Lea Linster, among others.
One of Australia’s leading chefs, restaurateurs, writers, and TV presenters, Jared has spent nearly three decades putting the spotlight on the importance of delicious, local, seasonal and sustainable food.
His award-winning restaurants Dank St Depot and Cotton Duck restaurant in Surry Hills hold testament to his uncompromising commitment in supporting small, passionate growers, fishers and farmers. Before going out on his own in 2002, Jared was head chef at Bayswater Brasserie, after working in London at Mezzo (So-Ho), Hillaire (South Kensington) and the two Michelin starred The Square (Mayfair).
He’s a columnist and a regular contributor for many industry based publications and a published author of three award-winning cookbooks. A sought after speaker and an advisor on sustainable food he has represented Slow Food Australia at Terra Madre in Italy. Supporting education is a passion and Jared has worked with the Nature Conservation Council on their sustainable seafood projects and with Greenpeace Asia Pacific GM Free launching the Chefs Charter at Dank Street Depot in 2008 and the True Food Kids Guide 2011.
After 27 years in the kitchen and running multiple venues, Jared is now pursuing projects that inspire. As a restaurateur who has fundamentally changed the fine dining landscape, he is looking forward to changing the way we eat – outside of the restaurant.
Gastronaut, founder and co-owner of Culiversum and gastronomixs.com Jeroen van Oijen is a well-known chef and entrepreneur in The Netherlands. He strives to create a worldwide knowledge and inspiration platform for professional chefs, a passion born of his conviction that chefs can change the way people eat and create a more sustainable eating pattern.
To this end, he and his business partner IngeMeijs created and launched Gastronomixs.com, the first online idea generator that helps professional chefs to speed up their creative process as a means to cope with challenges in gastronomy and food culture. Prior to this Jeroen started Culiversum – an idea generator and
think-tank for the food industry. His Culinary Toolbook is due to be published in English in early 2015.
Jeroen holds a specialized chefs degree with 4 management diplomas and is a graduated SVH teacher. He also graduated in creative thinking techniques at COCD (Belgium) and De Bono. With 15 years of experience in gastronomy& catering and 8 years in marketing and product development his creative approach to cooking is refreshing. He is a guest lecturer at 5 culinary institutes, the famous Design Academy Eindhoven and the study Food, Design&Innovation in The Netherlands.
A passionate chef well-known chef in both the South African and International culinary arenas Jodi-Ann brings a vibrant, passionate and tasteful approach to food. Her passion for food and love of public speaking has seen her speak both locally and at numerous international food and motivation conferences.
A perfectionist by nature, for Jodi-Ann food is not simply about feeding one’s self but about tantalising all of one’s senses which is apparent in her work. The Chairman of Gauteng chapter of The South African Chefs Association for 3 years and now a director of The South African Chefs Association she is by far the youngest director to date, following in the steps of icons such as Dr Bill Gallagher who has mentored Jodi-Ann throughout her career.
This has given Jodi-Ann a huge opportunity to network with an unbelievable number of chefs both locally and internationally.
Continuously climbing up a ladder of greater and bigger goals is what drives Jodi-Ann. Her goal is to be the face of cooking in Africa and be in a position to change lives by instilling principles of mental and physical wellbeing and safety into people and thereby creating a safer, more effective and more productive environment within which to function.
The vice president of OSSKiC (Polish Kitchen & Pastry Chef’s Association) since 2009, Jarek Uscinski’s passion is to understand and experiment with food and flavours. After a stint in the military he studied and became enthralled by the magical of the world of gastronomy.
Jarek is a happy husband with a daughter and a son. Taste is his passion. He loves playing and experimenting with food and he intends to create a very special relationship between cooks and guests, so that when a guest’s enjoyment brings truly satisfaction to the one who creates it.
A product of the gastronomy school in Poland Jarek found a job as a chef in the most famous Greek restaurant Parnas in Warsaw. From there he moved to Bristol Hotel
where he eventually served as a chef of the Marconi Restaurant. After five years he left to Resta99 which was ranked as one of the ten best business restaurants by European Wall Street Journal as its chef and Board Member. For the last 8 years he has been creating experimental dishes at his Moonsfera Restaurant as chef and owner. He has also made a number of TV appearances during the course of his career as a culinary professional.
As a child Jarek dreamt of becoming an artist or a graphic designer. Today he lives that dream as a culinary artist, an innovator designing masterpieces in his kitchen with flavours and food.
Andrea is the Executive Chef Shangri-La Hotel Tokyo. A former student of the award-winning Quique Dacosta, Andrea presents a menu based on traditional Mediterranean dishes prepared with creative flair and featuring unusual combinations.
Born in Mondovi, in Piedmont region, Andrea revealed his passion for cooking at a very early age. After he earned a diploma in hotel management and catering at the age of 19, Andrea went abroad to study and to perfect his craft. His food is not simply a new take on traditional recipes, but the result of a personal quest for knowledge.
He gained much experience working in top restaurants around the globe, including the Michelin two-star restaurant Quique Dacosta in Denia, Spain, and the famous
Vivaldi Italian restaurant in Dubai, where he honed his skills and perfected his knowledge in the most sophisticated cooking techniques while remaining true to his Italian roots. From 2009 to May 2011, he was the Executive Chef of the Italian restaurant of the Bulgari Resort in Bali. Bulgari Resort guests and international patrons adored his food, which garnered him much success. The superb quality of the raw ingredients, creativity, and sophisticated cooking techniques are the main ingredients of Andrea’s cuisine and he prefers cooking techniques that preserve the organoleptic qualities of the ingredients, do not alter product texture and consistency, and preserve the flavour. His dishes, which are a fine balance between aesthetics and flavour, are a true culinary experience. His recipes are beautiful to behold and their ingredients easy to identify.
Ray McVinnie M.A.(Hons), C&G Dip CA has been a food writer and advisor and now editor of Cuisine magazine which was adjudged the best food magazine in the world at the 2006 Gourmet Media World festival in Cannes, France. Ray was born with a passion for food. Even while studying for his Master of Arts in History at Auckland University he cooked part time. A professional chef for many years at some of Auckland’s best restaurants, he was Executive Chef at Auckland’s Metropole Restaurant for 6 years.
He is an experienced food judge, a newspaper columnist and has been on the international jury for the Italy-based Slowfood Awards and has also twice been on the panel of judges for the World Food Media Awards.
Ray is also an award winning food and travel writer and was winner of a multitude of accolades. He has travelled extensively in Asia as well as in Italy, Spain, Germany and France researching food and as a professional chef. Ray lectured in Gastronomy at the Auckland University of Technology for many years and in 2008 he was invited to present his paper on kumara at the prestigious Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery at Oxford University UK. He is a published author with five cookery books to his name and one of the judges in the hit television series Masterchef New Zealand.
Born in Mexico City, Lula studied at Institution Management in ESDAI and had her professional start in 1995, when she opened her first restaurant. She was the Executive Chef for Grupo Habita, the most famous boutique hotel chain in Mexico and is currently Executive Chef for HSBC in Mexico where she is involved in many social and sustainable projects. She is also a participating partner in ROCA restaurant and Nico & Lula catering company and a regular consultant for restaurants in creating menus, staff training and openings. Currently she’s involved in a new project of Restaurante Carbón, located in Mercado Roma.
She authored the book series Essential Cuisines and “Lulachef Mexico Contempo”, for which she was awarded The Best Woman Chef Cookbook in Mexico and placed third at the French Gourmand Awards. She has run events in support of many foundations like Ojos que sienten for the visually impaired, ASIA ONLUS Foundation and Tarahumara Jose A. Llaguno, to support children’s education in many regions, La Casa de la Sal for children living with HIV, Cinépolis Foundation for the blind, and Charity Coalition. In November 2013, she was one of the participants in Chefs al rescate, an initiative to fund victims of hurricanes Ingrid and Manuel in the Guerrero coast.
Born in Mexico City, Matias, arrived in Chile in 1990 to finish his secondary education and study gastronomy at INACAP. There he discovered and fell in love with the Chilean cuisine and its wonderful ingredients. Known to be a nomad of flavours, Matias travelled extensively throughout Chile looking for new flavors in the country’s amazing abundance of products of the land and sea.
His career started in one of the most prestigious restaurants in Mexico City, the Basque on the coast of Luis Marcet by chef Iñaki Agirre. He was also part of the team that worked on the opening of the Marriott Hotel restaurants in Santiago de Chile. But the true beginning of his career came through in 2001 when he was invited to the restaurant Arzak Juan by the Michelin-star chef Mari Arzak in San
Sebastian, Spain. He learnt the traditions of the great Basque cuisine, refined technique and creative and playful rein¬vention, and also the discipline needed to succeed in the culinary industry. Later his stint at the exclusive Daniel (4 Stars New York Times) in New York under the French chef Daniel Boulud, gave him a flavour of sophisticated global cuisine.
Matias’s passion to discover and experiment with new flavours has taken him to the four corners of the world and has earned him many accolades including The Circle of Chilean food journa-lists’ Chef of the Year Award and the Revelation Chef Award issued by Wiken magazine. He also has made many television appearances and continues to spread his passion for food by inspiring and educating young culinary professionals.