An interview with Chef Dimuthu Kumarasinghe, Group Skills Development Chef, Aitken Spence Hotels and Heritance Hotels & Resorts.
Hailing from Mathugama, Kalutara, Chef Dimuthu Kumarasinghe says that he always wanted to be a chef. He was first introduced to Aitken Spence Hotels, when his elder a brother, already a chef, approached Mr. Gemunu Goonewardena and explained that his younger sibling was looking for a job.
Having started his career as a trainee, Dimuthu has worked hard, putting in twelve to fifteen hour days trying to ensure that the food is of a consistently high standard. Dimuthu is the only chef in the world to have won five gold medals at the World Culinary Olympics and four gold medals in the Culinary World Cup, beating competition from countries such as France and Italy, renowned for their culinary excellence. Dimuthu’s accomplishments, both as a chef and in culinary art, have won him worldwide renown and he is often called upon to train others, locally and internationally.
Dimuthu loves his job and enjoys cooking; experimenting with and formulating his own recipes, creating magic on the palate and ensuring that guests of Aitken Spence Hotels come back time and time again for the exquisite dishes he prepares. Dimuthu also loves to share his knowledge and he says he does this by being heavily involved in training kitchen staff, not just in the everyday task of preparing meals for guests, but also training and moulding those who would like to test their skills at culinary contests. In fact, Mr. Gemunu Goonewardena had this to say about Dimuthu, “We’re very proud of him, actually; he is one of the best human beings I have come across; he always develops the other guy.”
2009 Piece made on the launch of Heritance Ahungalla Dressage
Gold award winning entry – Artistic Pastry Show Piece Pastillage & Marzipan
Gold award winning entry – Artistic Pastry Show Piece Salt Dough
Dimuthu in turn credits Gemunu Goonewardena for the high food standards at Aitken Spence hotels and says, “I have to always salute, double salute, Mr. Goonewardena, because we are always together, all the chefs and the GM’s working together, sharing knowledge; he is very approachable, even a trainee can speak to him at any time.”
When asked his advice to young people wanting to be chefs Dimuthu says they must be prepared to work long hours and to work hard; he goes on to explain that he trained for two to three years in order to enter the Culinary World Olympics, even going so far as to formulate his own recipe for the sugar structure. Dimuthu encourages would-be chefs to continuously upgrade their knowledge and to strive for excellence, this he claims, is almost automatic when one has a passion for the work. “I love my job, so I don’t get tired when I work. Even my wife gives me a lot of support.”
Ace Magazine – 2010