One of Sri Lanka’s most celebrated and award-winning resorts on the southern coast, Fortress Resort & Spa, held aloft the hospitality industry’s most prestigious food and beverage laurel by winning the Bocuse d’Or Sri Lanka, with a team of chefs now in preparation to compete at the next level of the competition, the Bocuse d’Or Asia to be held in Singapore in April 2016.
Having competed against teams of highly experienced and renowned chefs from across the country’s most distinguished hotels and resorts, Executive Sous Chef Asanka Wickramasinghe and his apprentice Commis Lahiru Udana defeated no less than 23 competitors to emerge champions at this revolutionary competition in gastronomy innovated mooted by French chef Paul Bocuse.
Invented in 1987, the Bocuse d’Or is held once every two years and brings together 24 competitors at the grand finale, which last year was won by Norway, the USA and Sweden, respectively in the Gold, Silver and Bronze categories. It is based using codes of the biggest sporting events and promises a spectacular symphony of performances that only chefs of a very high calibre can perform. The grand finale of the Bocuse d’Or in 2016 will be held in Lyon, France and will bring together the winners of the continental selections including the Bocuse d’Or Asia that the Fortress team will be competing in.
Taking the spirit of the Bocuse d’Or as Paul Bocuse created it in, when he said, “It’s about movement and creativity, the perfection of the right gesture and technical excellence and the passion for his art,” Chef Wickramasinghe and Commie Udana created a combination of main courses that were surely an epicurean delight.
The jury, whose marking was based on the international Bocuse d’Or criteria, was treated to almond coated foie gras stuff, rosemary and tea smoked duck breast with crispy orange duck skin and duck jus. Another main was the steamed duck dim sum on blueberry glazed foie gras and coconut cream accompanied by beetroot rings with celery puree on savoury carrot and orange crème brulee with filo ring.
The main courses, which showcased Chef Wickramasinghe’s 12 years’ experience in some of the finest kitchens, and drew on the creativity he garnered from the Sri Lanka Hotel School where he is a graduate, together with Commie Udana’s kitchen artistry, were embellished with pureed mushroom on pumpkin barrel and asparagus tips and caramelized onion jam topped with pickled quail yolk.
The Fortress Team faced strong competition from culinary teams across Colombo’s five-star city properties including Cinnamon Grand, Hilton Colombo, Taj Samudra and The Kingsbury. Hence, it is indeed commendable that Chef Wickramasinghe and Commie Udana competed against the best in the industry to showcase their prowess in the art of epicurean artistry.
The Bocus d’Or Sri Lanka, held in association with Sri Lanka Tourism and the CHSGA, is a platform that allows chefs to be as inventive, creative and artistic as they can be, encouraging them to innovate and be emulated, given the constantly evolving and discerning hospitality industry they work in. Each continental competition is judged by a jury of Michelin Star chefs, who ultimately make the choice for the finalists to participate in the show of shows, the grand finale of the Bocuse d’Or, paving the path for the winning chefs to wear the crowns of recognition, prestige and fame.