I’ll set the scene for you – it’s Friday night, and I’ve just enjoyed a very fun sunset cruise with some of our returning guests. We head back to Cariblue restaurant to enjoy an excellent dinner (all that dancing on the boat worked up an appetite). I started it off with a cocktail of seafood (a medley of shrimps, squid, mussels, fresh fish and crabmeat bound in a Marie Rose sauce, served on a bed of crisp vegetables) and followed it up with the fresh snapper (baked fresh snapper served on a bed of herbed potato puree, vegetables and a tangy coconut milk broth).
Just as I totally cleaned off my plate, one of the chefs walked by. I invited him to have a seat with me, as I always love chatting with The BodyHoliday team members about what they do. It’s part of my job, but I’m just a naturally curious person. What I knew of Chef Dulish Perera was that he is Sri Lankan and started working with the resort toward the latter part of last year.
We spent a bit of time talking about his roots in Sri Lanka and his extensive employment history with top hotels, including the Jumerai hotel chain of Dubai – pretty impressive resumé! He gladly recounted stories of different experiences he gained in his professional life and how those experiences helped make him a better chef. He was especially proud to let me know that he had won several awards across the span of his culinary career, including eight medals from the Dubai Culinary Awards.
Fast forward to the present day and he is the Pastry Chef at The BodyHoliday in St. Lucia, thousands of miles away from home. He now oversees the day to day operations of the pastry department and also has a hand in the creation of all of those wonderful international dishes for the themed lunches and dinners. He then says to me that it is important I understand that he incorporates local elements in his dishes to give them a local twist. He enjoys the fact that St. Lucia is a tropical garden and he has an abundance of fresh, organic herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables readily available. He tries as much as possible to sort them out on his own too!
What was merely supposed to be a passing conversation had spanned the length of a half hour. Cariblue was now closed and I did not get the chance to enjoy dessert. “No worries, I’ll prepare something special for you” he said to me. And the rest, as they say…or don’t say…was delicious!