Once again, Aitken Spence crowned at Chef’s Guild 2007
Organised by the chef’s guild of Sri Lanka, the premier professional body of culinary professionals in the hospitality trade, the Twelfth Culinary Art Competition was an overwhelming success for Aitken Spence Hotels, overall champions by a huge margin. Held at the BMICH towards the end of August, the Aitken Spence chain accounted for 164 awards (45 Gold, 67 Silver and 52 Bronze) across 22 categories, surpassing their own record which was set the previous year.
The chef’s Guild aims to encourage aspiring chefs to pursue careers in the culinary profession, an objective also shared by Aitken Spence. Indeed, many of their resident chefs have developed their skills within the organization and have proudly represented the country in international competitions. The only chef in the world to have won 9 Gold medals in individual events at the Culinary Olympics and Culinary World Cup, Dimuthu Kumarasinghe, is testament to the group’s pursuit of excellence in the food and beverage sector.
As the Skills Development Chef for the group, Dimuthu is one of several award winning chefs at Aitken Spence who are busy setting high benchmarks in the industry, respected professionals inspiring their colleagues to aim high. Chef Hashim, Head Chef at Kandalama, attributes the group’s high standards of food, preparation and service to excellent communication and teamwork. “ Running a hotel kitchen is not a one-man show. There is a great sense of togetherness in the hotels which is reflected in the final product.” Similar sentiments are echoed by Chef Gunasekara (Water’s Edge).
“When an Aitken Spence team or individual enters a competition, they are supported all the way by everyone, from the board room to the kitchen staff. Chefs may win the award but we all appreciate and acknowledge everyone who helped us win!”
Sri Lanka has gained a fine reputation in South Asia for its range of Western-style food and, as the largest resort operator in Sri Lanka, this is largely due to Aitken Spence. To avoid the pitfalls of complacency, Aitken Spence Hotels continue to innovate their menus, develop their staff and listen to their guests.
In conjunction with the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, Aitken Spence will soon be opening their very own hotel school, the first of its kind in Sri Lanka. For the new intakes, there will be some inspirational role-models within the organization to emulate. “We have all been inspired by our peers within the economy”, explains Chef Illeperuma (Earl’s Regency). “Hopefully we are helping to inspire emerging talent.”
2007 – Ace Magazine Issue 4