Launching the first Taste of Britain Festival in Colombo yesterday , the British High Commissioner James Dauris said that seasoning and other additives, could be the difference between the curries produced in the two countries.
Asked what he thought separated curries cooked in Britain and Sri Lanka , he said ” I am not the best person to answer your question, but I presume its to do with spices and other ingredients.”
The High Commissioner observed that historical ties between the United Kingdom and South Asia, meant that there were some similarities in food , with curries being an important part of the menu.
Wishing the Festival which runs until January 28, a successful inaugural performance, he hoped that it could be made an annual event.
It would certainly strengthen long standing friendly relations and people to people contact , Dauris added.
Following the Festival, the British Curry Kings would go on a food trail, to get a taste of famous Sri Lankan dishes looking for inspiration and imaginative ideas for their menu back home ,Manager Marketing Communications at the Hilton Colombo Gigi De Silva said.
The aim of the Festival , the first of its kind to be held here, was to showcase the Best of British cuisine and work of some of United Kingdoms(UK’s) most creative chefs , she noted adding that the event was being organised by the UK trade magazine “Curry Life”, in collaboration with Hilton Colombo.
Festival Organiser and “Curry Life” Editor Belal Ahmed said that British Food was enjoying a renaisance after many years and Curry had played a major role in putting it back in the world kitchen.
Editor in Chief of ” “Curry Life”, Nahas Pasha noted that there had been a positive response to British curries in India and Bangladesh and they expected a similar response in Sri Lanka as well.
Hot, mild, creamy or dry, Curry has come to be the UK’s number one national food, Belal explained. ” Curry, which originated from the Indian sub-continent, now outsells even fish and chips. Some twelve thousand restaurants in the UK, cater to the ever-increasing love of British curry cuisine.”
Hilton Colombo General Manager Manesh Fernando was over joyed at hosting ” Taste of Britain Curry Festival”, at the hotels flagship property in Sri Lanka.
The UK’s Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Mark Field sent his best wishes to the organisers and participants at this Festival.
Belal said that the team of visiting chefs, headed by Rupert Rowley, one of the most experienced and celebrated Michelin Starred chefs in the UK , included award wining British curry chefs, who would be producing a range of new dishes giving a spicy twist to traditional British meals, as well as classic high street favourites like Chicken Tikka Masala, Balti and Ceylon dishes.
Rupert, would be showcasing Sri Lankan seafood inspired British menu , while his colleagues would offer a classic British curry menu, he revealed.
The Chef’s contingent includes Vijay Singh Panwar from London, Abul Monsur from Chatham, Kent , Syeduz Zaman Kamran from Warrington, Cheshire and Shamsul Islam, Food Hygiene Specialist, who provides food safety and quality compliance.
“Curry Life festival team all over India with British curry, but this is our first such promotion in Sri Lanka. Hopefully this will create the opportunity not only to showcase the best of British, but also help our chefs to bring fresh ideas to their own menus, by working alongside Sri Lankan culinary masters. We also hope they will get to know more about Sri Lankan cuisine” Belal said.