Empower Culinary & Hospitality School’s inaugural batch graduates

Empower Culinary & Hospitality School’s inaugural batch graduates
The Empower Culinary & Hospitality School felicitated its inaugural batch consisting 13 young chefs at a gala graduation night held on February 7 at the school premises. Witnessing this milestone in their lives were Governors of the School -Bernd Uber, Peter Kuruvita, Rohan Fernandopulle, the Education Director World Association of Chef’s Societies (WACS) John Clancy, 140 odd participants who have flown down to Sri Lanka from different parts of the world to attend the Dilmah School of Tea 2017, Dilmah Founder Merrill J. Fernando, his two sons Dilhan C. Fernando and Malik J. Fernando and the parents of the graduating batch.

The event had two special awards being presented to R. Vijeyakumara and K. Danushan for their excellent performance at the final evaluation.

Nineteen year old R. Vijeyakumara from Kahawatte plantation was chasing a dream from the day he enrolled for culinary training. His dream was to be like Celebrity Chef, Peter Kuruvita someday. What inspired this young boy was a personal message from Peter Kuruvita featured in the form of a short video clip at the introductory session. Four months after, at the end of the culinary training, this aspiring chef graduated from the Empower Culinary & Hospitality School, on February 7 with a distinction pass.

Walking up to the stage, attired in a chef’s jacket to receive his special award, made him feel that he has taken another step towards achieving his ‘dream,’ Vijeyakumara says.

The young graduate K. Danushan’s thoughts reflect the positive influence the culinary school has on the lives of underprivileged youth.

“Until I came here, I never knew that there are this many opportunities in the culinary filed. I studied up to Grade 11. Although I managed to pass my G.C.E O/Ls, it was not with good results. So I wanted to get into vocational training. Now I know that, being a chef is an exciting career. During the training here, I got to see the standards of the international chefs who trained us. It was motivating to see how far they have gone in life in this industry. My ambition is to become an executive chef and work abroad. I felt so proud when I heard my name announced as a recipient of a special award,” says Danushan adding that his parents getting to witness this special moment was important to him as it was for the first time that they got to see him achieving something.

When the first batch of culinary students first joined the culinary school, they were without any exposure or knowledge in the field of culinary art. After months of hands on training at the Centre’s state of the art training facility, working with leading chefs from across the world, the students have gained an international perspective on cuisine and hospitality. Working with the international chefs and to have met their expectations, turned out to be a novel experience for the culinary batch. Notably, the students also undertook the challenge to prepare a three course menu for the guests attending the graduation night- a menu which John Clancy acknowledged to be “absolutely exceptional.”