Meet Chef Saman Wijeratne

Knorr Kitchen

Meet Chef Saman Wijeratne

There is infinite pleasure in remembering a dish that was cooked well.

There is infinite pleasure in remembering a dish that was cooked well.- Chef Saman Wijeratne

He has been surrounded by food, and people who love food, his whole life. Beginning from his childhood days of learning the culinary ropes inside the kitchen of his family’s holiday resort at Bolgoda Lake, the love for food from that day forth has always been a part of his life.

Chef Saman’s culinary adventure led him from the shores of Sri Lanka to Dubai, Qatar and Australia, where his experience working in an international chain of 5 star hotels have molded him into the accomplished chef he is today. He is fondly known as a ‘Culinary Sensei’ at the Ceylon Hotel School & School of Tourism, where he also studied. He received the Best Cold Kitchen Award in Professional Cookery at the same institute and multiple others in competitions around the world. To date, he continues to make culinary magic out of everyday ingredients and transforms a meal worth eating into a meal worth remembering.

1. When was the first time you cooked something and what did you make?

Kohila Cutlets when I was just a schoolboy of 15. I impressed even my toughest critics- my family! I guess the bar was always set pretty high when your family owns a holiday resort.

2. What recipe have you created that you’re particularly proud of?

I’m proud of all the recipes I’ve written. But if I had to name one, it would be my Kohila Cutlet Recipe which is still a very fondly recalled memory.

3. When did you join the Knorr team of chefs and how has your journey been so far?

I joined in 1994 and, well, let me put it this way- there has never been an end to a day where I haven’t hung up my chef’s hat and apron without a smile.

4. Do you have any words of inspiration for home chefs?

Find the time and grow a garden, even a small one. Your meals taste and feel so much more satisfying and fulfilling when you’ve grown the ingredients yourself. This especially counts towards vegetables and herbs.

5. What are 2 essential ingredients that every kitchen should have?

Garlic and onions. There are times that these 2 ingredients alone can make an ordinary dish extraordinary.

6. Expert Advice from Chef Saman:

  1. Make it simple- Sometimes it’s all about less cooking, less handling and less ingredients. Like a delicate fish curry, you can only bring out the beauty of its taste when the fish tastes more fresh and natural, as opposed to having hard flavours and textures due to heavy spices and over-cooking.
  2. Be adventurous and innovative- Don’t stick to dusty recipes and set menus when the possibilities for discovering new and different flavours are endless.
  3. It’s all about cooking with your soul- When you love what you cook, no matter how complicated the recipe, the dish can never go wrong.

Worst kitchen accident: A few years ago I suffered 2nd degree burns on my hand due to some bad turbulence when I was preparing Cream of Tomato Soup as an in-flight chef!

Favourite cuisine: Asian fusion cuisine

Special skill: Cold kitchen work (salads, Pâtés, terrines, roulades etc.)

Favourite Herb: Curry leaves