The Young Aspiring Chefs
Young Vijeyakumara, from Kahawatte plantation was a student from the maiden batch of the Moratuwa MJF Centre’s Empower Culinary Training Centre (ECTC) who had their first classroom session recently. It was an introductory session into the culinary field and students found the personal message from celebrity chef Peter Kuruvita, featured in the form of a short video clip, very inspiring.
Vijeyakumara who enrolled at the culinary training programme after finishing his O/Ls says, so far, he learnt a lot of new things quite different to the standard practice he follows when he cooks at homes. “I learnt different ways of making fish and boiling eggs, how different chopping boards are used for chopping meat and vegetables, the proper use of the kitchen and various kitchen tools,” he explains adding that training also gives him a chance to improve his English language.
The culinary kitchen at the Empower Culinary Hospitality and Inspirational School has become Dunuri Rodrigo’s most favourite place for there she gets a chance to use all the modern kitchenware, unlike at home.
Dunuri, who came to the MJF Centre in Moratuwa in 2011 as a participant of the Rainbow Centre for Special Needs Children, has developed a passion for baking. Her continued involvement in the culinary kitchen has made this 18-year old pick up the art of baking quite fast. She speaks at length, of the “special chocolate cake” she baked on her father’s birthday last year.
Her sparkling eyes; as she recalls the feedback she got for her chocolate cake, speak volumes of the sense of accomplishment in her. “Everyone who tasted it said it was very tasty,” she adds.
Dunuri is even able to supervise the participants of the MJF Kids programme who come to the culinary kitchen to engage in their cookery lessons. From using the beater to operating the oven; it is Dunuri who shows them how to handle the kitchen equipment.
With a six month culinary training course on offer at the Empower Culinary Hospitality and Inspirational School, Dunuri has now taken to cookery in a professional level. The state of the art equipment and the output received by the MJF Centre’s own culinary training professionals coupled with exposure working with world class chefs who share their expertise with those being trained at the school, is sure to make her training a wholesome experience.
“I bake a cake or make short eats whenever there is a special event – Christmas, New Year or a family birthday now. I love to make cupcakes too, especially to do the icing,” she goes on to explain.
Dunuri is hopeful that, at the end of her culinary training, she would be able to give her family a chance to taste finer things in life beyond the cakes and short eats she makes. “I have a small oven at home but my mother has promised to buy me a better one and arrange some space for me in the house so that I could start my own baking and cookery business to earn an income to help my family,” Dunuri says.