Learning traditional recipes on a culinary trip to Sri Lanka with Peter Kuruvita | Peter Kuruvita
This week we sat down with renowned Sydney chef and TV personality Peter Kuruvita and got to know how food has shaped his travel experiences. From his introduction into the culinary world to some of his most exciting projects happening this year, Peter reveals how his passion for food has developed and why travel has enhanced his passion and appreciation for cuisine!
Where did you get your start in the culinary world? Had you always had an interested in culturally inspired cooking or did something trigger it?
Lots of time spent with the women of my family in our ancestral home in Sri Lanka was the precursor, and then a year at the school of Home Science, followed by my father suggesting that I should walk into our local seafood restaurant and ask for a job. I loved it from the minute I started, which was the very same day.
What was your first big break on food TV? How were you discovered?
TV was a slow growth, it started with best spots on Fresh with Jeff Janz, a short insight video for Qantas and then people kept saying that i came across really well. So i put my hand up for any opportunity. The TV shows were a lot harder to get over the line, especially the first. The discovery process was more like hat in hand and going to all the TV strains saying we had a great idea, did they want to shoot it.
You’ve had a couple of TV series where you travel to Mexico, Sri Lanka and South East Asia to explore the culture and the food of the region. How important is the journey -- the process of experiencing a destination -- when you're trying new foods?
I always find it strange when people go to other countries and really don’t get into the cuisine, food is such a major part of every ones DNA.. and if you really want to understand a country or even a community the best way is through their food.
What sparked your interest to travel? How do you decide which countries you visit, or what inspires you to travel to a specific place?
I have traveled since the age of 4, my parent took us one of the most adventurous trips around in 1969, we went from London to Colombo overland. this journey was always a conversation piece at our dinner table, people were and still in awe of that journey and the adventure that we had along the way. When i walked into my first job i recall thinking to my self that i will use 1/3 of all the money I earn on travel, and I did, every year i would talk all four weeks of my holidays and travel to another country. I am still doing it now.
How important a part does food play in your travel experience? What drives your curiosity to try different foods?
Being chef this is every more amplified, I always am looking smelling and tasting things, so when I travel there is little I do not eat. as above food is the culture, it is what everyone talks about, it is not just food but it is the identity of a country
How does culture reflect the food and vice versa?
They have never been separated, they are totally intertwined, it makes up part of the culture and mind set of a country, a sense of pride about the national dishes.
What has been the most memorable cultural experience you've had travelling around the world?
There are many, easter with the raramuri of Mexico, fishing with the Fijian villagers, Cooking with my grandmother in our ancient kitchen, making sausages with Philipino chefs, cooking on the edge of an erupting volcano, my life is food so I have had thousands of amazing food experiences
What are some of the best recipes you've made while on a trip overseas, and why?
I write new recipes all the time, my role with Dilmah ensure that I create 50-100 new recipes using tea a year. Recipes can be inspired by many things but being in situ and going to the market inspires me the most, see an ingredient and then create the dish.
You’ve got two trips coming up with World Expeditions in 2016. Where are you going and what can travellers on the trip expect?
All in the fact sheets, but out of the main tourist traps, meeting real people and learning many recipes cooked by locals. Seeing the amazing history and diversity in such a small package, not to be missed.
Want to find out more?
Experience the culinary and cultural wonders of Sri Lanka with television personality Peter Kuruvita, as he leads two trips in August and October 2016! From street food and egg hoppers to tea inspired dinners at some of Sri Lanka's finest dining establishments, Peter will take you behind the scenes to meet the people and discover the spices that make up Sri Lanka's melting pot.
Want to explore the inland and palm-fringed coast to the West on the My Sri Lanka trip departing 3 October 2016?
Or how about discover the hidden areas of the North and East on the Food and Festivals of Sri Lanka trip departing 1 August 2016?
These are a must for lovers of food, culture and spice!