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8 Awesome Sri Lankans On MasterChef

A taste of Sri Lanka on MasterChef stage.

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Sri Lanka is blessed with a rich heritage of culinary styles. From the multi-ethnic makeup to unique ingredients to vibrant colours to diversity of dietary choices, there are many reasons that make our food culture adventurous and exciting.
 
However, unlike Indian, Chinese, Thai or Italian cuisine, Sri Lankan food has never attracted much international attention. But, thankfully, it has been changing for the last decade, especially with the culinary talents shown on popular, competitive cooking shows, like MasterChef. 
 
So here we have 7 Sri Lankans who appeared on MasterChef shows from around the world. They made Sri Lanka so proud, not only by producing a taste of Sri Lanka on the international stage, but also by being their awesome selves. 

Georgia

The 11-year-old Georgia was the winner of Junior Masterchef Australia 2020. Her love for cooking, and showing her love through it, began when she was only 3 years old. With the influence of her mother's side that hails from Sri Lanka, especially her grandmother, Georgia got the opportunity to explore the world of Sri Lankan cuisine. Despite not being much of a sweet tooth, she also loves to create sweet treats. 

For the grand finale, she decided to stick to her Sri Lankan roots, by crafting up a fabulous Sri Lankan feast comprised of Saffron Rice, Pork Curry, Eggplant Curry, Cashew Curry, Cucumber Raita and Papadam. It was followed by a "Tropical Mess" - a dessert full of tropical elements and flavours: toasted coconut ice cream, brown bread crumb, Davidson plum pearls, Davidson plum meringues and a lemongrass granita.

Dee Williams

The first, Sri Lankan female contestant at MasterChef Australia, Dhayanie ‘Dee’ Williams impressed the judges with sumptuous Sri Lankan feasts. Born in Sri Lanka, she moved to Australia for higher studies in 2007, which opened her eyes and tastebuds to a variety of cuisines and cooking cultures. 

Dee received the white apron for her Crab Curry, Coconut Rice and Pineapple Salad ensemble, and also made up some classic Sri Lankan curry combos in it, such as Chicken Curry, Dal Curry, Pol Sambol and Pol Roti

Minoli De Silva

Minoli De Silva repeatedly wowed the judges with many Sri Lankan inspired dishes, while making her way towards the top 10 finalists of MasterChef Australia 2021. However, the reason behind her heightened passion for cooking was a bigger obstacle than the ones that she faced in the MasterChef kitchen.

A Chemical Engineer by profession, Minoli was diagnosed with stage 3A breast cancer in 2017, and underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy for over seven months. As a side effect of this, she lost her sense of taste, but she didn't let that get in the way of her love for food. Soon enough, she rediscovered her palate and found joy in new flavours, and that's what placed her on the path to MasterChef.

For her first cook, she chose to make a mix of Sri Lankan curries and sambols that she likes to eat at home, for which she received the white apron. This included six dishes - Rice, Chicken Curry, Brinjal Curry, Kiwi Curry, Pol Sambol and Tomato & Onion Salad. She served these up on steamed banana leaves. 

Ray Silva

A doctor by profession, Ray Silva appeared on MasterChef Australia 2017 and made it to the top 24. He is a Chicago-born Sri Lankan, who later moved to Sri Lanka, and then relocated to Australia.

The biggest inspiration behind his cooking is his parents. In fact, he claims that his father's crab curry is the best he has had. 

Throughout his MasterChef journey, he focused a lot on contemporary food, as opposed to Sri Lankan and Asian Food. It was his intention to break the stereotype of labelling the South Asians on MasterChef as being able to do only curries. However, this doesn't lessen his appreciation of Sri Lankan food. Plus, he paid a lot of attention to making everything as gourmet as possible. For example, when it comes to pasta, he prefers making it from scratch, rather than settling for the store-bought kind

Jessica Heath

A Sri Lankan - American, Jessica Heath is a top 40 contestant on MasterChef USA Season 8, chosen from over 60000 contestants who participated from around the US. She really looks up to her maternal grandmother's phenomenal culinary skills for inspiration. 

During her time at the MasterChef kitchen, Jessica proudly presented a whole array of Sri Lankan dishes on the international table. With the good use of Sri Lankan spices, chillies, coconut milk and all the other splendid elements that make our food so incredibly flavoursome, Jessica whipped up many tasty delights here, all while Gordon Ramsay observes her every move. 

Her cookbook, "CeyLove" is not another ordinary cookbook. The strong love she bears towards Sri Lankan food, the stories on how she encountered those dishes, and the happiness they bring, are perfectly portrayed by every recipe, every page and every word she has written on it.  

Malin De Silva

Malin De Silva is a semi-finalist in the 2019 series of BBC's MasterChef: The Professionals. Born in Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka, he later moved to the UK to pursue his dream as a chef. After working at a number of well-known restaurants in the country and getting through to the semi-finals of MasterChef: The Professionals, he was recently named the head chef of Paradise in London's Soho.

Infusing Sri Lankan goodness in Western cuisine through contemporary techniques is something that he has been passionate about, and he managed to capture that through his servings on MasterChef. 

Kumar Pereira

Kumar Pereira is many things - a successful art director, a designer and of course, a food enthusiast. Born in Sri Lanka, he travelled around the world before settling in Australia with his family. In 2011, he made it to the top 12 of MasterChef Australia season 3, and participated in MasterChef All Stars - a special show that was conducted in 2012, with selected MasterChef contestants from the previous 3 years. 

Kumar Pereira's MasterChef journey includes many amazing delicacies, that draw inspiration from all the cuisines that he enjoyed during his travels. He managed to bind them up perfectly to the diversified Sri Lankan culinary style. 

In 2013, he released his first cookbook - the "Kumar’s Family Cookbook," which incorporates his knack for recipe developing and designing. It's comprised of his recipes and drawings of the dishes, as opposed to the photographed ones. Quite unique, quite interesting!

Samantha Rochelle De Silva

Samantha Rochelle De Silva participated in the 3rd season of MasterChef USA in 2012, and was ranked in 18th place. Her remarkable cooking style and dishes stood out from the thousands of home cooks auditioned for the competition.

She has always dreamt of exploring a bigger, creative role in the kitchen, without limiting herself to just cooking. By uniting the experience she gained from MasterChef kitchen and her job as a design consultant, Samantha now runs a successful firm that provides hospitality and restaurant consultations.

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