The Chefs & the Teamaker programme which started with a group of Australian chefs and restaurateurs back in 2008 has evolved into an exciting tapestry of culinary threads from all four corners of the world woven together by tea- this simple herb with its complex personality. 10 gifted chefs travelled to Sri Lanka to meet the country’s most famous teamaker- the Dilmah Founder Merrill J. Fernando and embark on a tea inspired culinary voyage in May 2014.
The 10 day programme saw the chefs travelling through many parts of Sri Lanka, especially the spectacular Sri Lankan tea country. The first day was spent at the home of Dilmah in Peliyagoda tasting and learning about tea. The next few days were all spent at various tea gardens at varying elevations. The group of chefs also travelled to the beautiful Tea Trails bungalow where they had the opportunity of re-living the life of a planter of the old Ceylon before heading down South to Weligama for some sun, sand and sea. On route to Colombo, a stopover at the MJF Centre in Moratuwa gave them a chance to catch up on their childhood and be a part of the work carried out by the MJF Charitable Foundation.
Celebrating the natural synergy between food and tea creating a perfect harmony, the final night was a rare celebration of commitment, creativity and passion inspired by tea and gastronomy. The chefs hosted the teamaker ‘ Merrill J. Fernando to a dinner titled-Camellia Epicurean’ which brought together an eclectic combination of global flavours with the common thread of tea running through it. Personally prepared by all the participants, the menu was a treat to behold as a joint effort on the part of some of the most competitive chefs in the world.