Mahoora Yala Hosts Special Guest, Marco Pierre White
World-renowned celebrity chef and restaurateur Marco Pierre White spent a night of Sri Lanka safari at Mahoora Tented Safari Camps Sri Lanka, and enjoyed a host of delicious dishes that showcased some of Sri Lanka’s traditional cuisine, during his visit to the Yala National Park last month.
White, who had numerous Sri Lankan chefs and food enthusiasts buzzing when he visited the island in January, is widely considered to be one of Britain’s most recognisable food pioneers and has been dubbed the world’s first celebrity chef, even being introduced as the godfather of modern cooking during a special appearance on MasterChef Australia.
Over the years, he has specialised in British, French and Italian cuisine while working under legendary chefs such as Albert and Michel Roux, Raymond Blanc and Nico Ladenis. His inspiring journey through the culinary world saw him earn celebrated status at a young age, becoming the youngest chef ever to have been awarded three Michelin stars, at the time, for his illustrious ‘The Restaurant Marco Pierre White’. White inspired an entire generation of culinary magicians and his prowess as a mentor has seen the likes of celebrity chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Curtis Stone and Shannon Bennett who have gone on to open some of the best restaurants in the world.
While exploring the Yala wildlife park on 24 and 25 January, he spent a night in the luxurious Mahoora Elite Tent. White was also treated to a fine dining experience in the wilderness, which aimed to fuse all the culinary traditions of the tropical island with some of the techniques he himself has perfected throughout his celebrated career.
The in-camp chef pulled out all the stops with a host of traditional dishes designed to impress even the most critical of palates. Some of the dishes presented to the culinary master included a beautifully prepared fried lake fish with crunchy vegetable salad, which was accompanied by a warm and comforting bowl of wing bean soup (Dambala). White also enjoyed juicy barbequed seafood skewers along with an assortment of crunchy local vegetables as well as a Sri Lankan favourite, vegetable kottu followed by another local classic in the form of pancakes stuffed with panipol.
White was also presented with a mouth-watering assortment of all of the island’s favourite sweets including thalaguli (sesame balls), puhul dosi (pumpkin preserve), milk toffee, pol toffee (coconut toffee) and Kalu dodol.
He also enjoyed a traditional breakfast in the camp, as he was presented with
an assortment of local breads with freshly squeezed papaw (papaya) juice and a variety of tropical jams. White was presented a fusion of some of
Sri Lanka’s favourite breakfast dishes including a warm bowl of Kurakkan Kenda, made of finger millet along with jaggery. A full course of Kiribath
soon followed with an appetising list of accompaniments such as lunumiris (hot chilli paste), seeni sambol and malu ambulthiyal – a traditional preparation of fish curry.
White was also taken on two thrilling safaris in the most esteemed wildlife park in the country, famed for its unmatched range of endemic flora and fauna which includes the regal Sri Lankan leopards, elephants and sloth bears.
Before parting company with the Mahoora team, Marco gave a glowing review of the luxurious outdoor setting as well as the team’s efforts to provide him with a taste of Sri Lankan cuisine and its wild treasures.
The legendary chef wrote:
“The jewel in Yala’s crown. Words cannot express
the visual impact. Wonderful, beautiful, magical are just a few. I’m moved and humbled with respect.”
Accompanying Marco on his journey through Yala was Andrew Bennett – Chef Director of Black and White Hospitality which handles the
operations of Marco’s New York Italian and Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill. Meanwhile, the Mahoora team was profuse in their praises of the event’s sponsors – Cinnamon Hotels, Land Rover, Sri Lankan Airlines and Knorr.