Dish It Out: Ruwandi Peiris

Mar 17 2022. views 248


How do our food experts cook and eat? Professional pastry chef, Ruwandi, takes our Q&A!

What do you love about being a professional chef?
I was 5 years old when I discovered my love for baking. I watched and studied my mom baking chocolate cupcakes (which were an epic failure) and remembered how much fun we had living in that moment. I started experimenting and soon it became a very exciting hobby of mine as it was so therapeutic. So, naturally, I wanted to turn my passion into a profession. I wanted to live and breathe that same excitement every day. However, there are times when I question why I'm doing this but my passion keeps me driven. I remind myself that I love what I do and I'm instantly energised! 

Your first memory of falling in love with baking and pastry?
My mom made terrible cupcakes but they were made with so much love. I guess I wanted to emit that same amount of love into what I bake and actually, into all aspects of my life. But of course, make sure it tastes good (lol, I love you Ammi!) 

Your signature style in your bakes?
Definitely staying true to the original flavours and style while adding my own Ruwandi twist! It's probably adding a more exotic twist and flavour to it.

What is your favourite creation?
I once made this Pomegranate Tres Leches and it wasn't the best at first since the sponge did not come out, well, like a sponge. But I continued testing it and it eventually became this delicious unique combo of different textures and flavours.

As a professional pastry chef, what does it mean to innovate and create?
In my words, staying true to you and your roots. It's a beautiful thing when you discover the many layers to yourself. And it's a fascinating thing to create beautiful, delicious dishes with that awareness. 

Your favourite childhood meal? 
Chicken nuggets and lemonade from McDonald's. It's easy to recreate the dish but it would never be the same.

What dish would you love to eat but never cook?
Probably a beef wellington. I do not have the patience in that aspect.

A meal you would whip up to impress someone? 
Ok, contrary to what I just said, I would put in the effort and try to cook up a beef wellington since it requires so much effort and time. I'm pretty someone would appreciate the heck out of that!! 

What’s the restaurant of your dreams like? 
Oooh, something where I would definitely serve fusion meals. A mix of Sri Lankan and Thai or Sri Lankan and Mexican. The desserts would match of course. I'm also obsessed with the garden café look. I love plants and the ambience they bring in, so peaceful! 

Your favourite odd food pairing? 
Chicken nuggets with peanut butter. Don't be weirded out. It's amazing.

What’s a dish you’d love to relive for the first time? 
Definitely my chicken nugget and lemonade moment when I was a little girl. My friends and I would play in the play area and we'd just collapse and giggle.

Your favourite ingredient to work with?
I love working with the kiwi fruit. I've created so many desserts with it! Just the amount of variables there are to it is insane!

If you were to show yourself as a chef through one dish, what would it be? 
Probably a choux pastry since it's one of the toughest things to master.

What’s something no one ever tells you about working in the professional kitchen? 
The amount of sacrifice put in. You live your passion every day but it comes at a price, just like anything. I don't take weekends off and sometimes I miss out on special occasions that I wouldn't get to relive again. 

During your experimental stages in cooking and baking in your teens, your most memorable kitchen disaster? 
Oh my gosh, there are far too many. But I guess when I was trying to create my own proper brownie recipe. First off, I burnt the chocolate not once or even twice but 4 times! And I forgot to add eggs. I made it for a friend's birthday and she was so sweet about it and I thought it was great! Until I had a piece. Let's just say I always try out anything I make before I serve it now…


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Panchali Illankoon

Law Graduate, food and travel enthusiast and full time dog mom..


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