Chef Andrew Walsh with Naserah Tyebally, Founder, Colombo Supper Club
SriLankan Airlines is the official airline partner of the Colombo Supper Club, a novel fine-dining experience offered in Sri Lanka.
The culinary event features chefs of international repute and their pop up restaurants. Singapore-based Irish Chef, Andrew Walsh who featured in the last edition of the Colombo Supper Club, which was held at Semondu, speaks to Serendib on his culinary inspirations and the experience on-board SriLankan Airlines.
Chef Walsh has spent many years in Michelin-starred kitchens across Dublin, Singapore as well as New York under the mentorship of chefs Richard Corrigan, Tom Aikens and Jason Atherton. Chef Atherton persuaded Walsh to move to Singapore to establish the acclaimed Esquina, a restaurant that pioneered the small plates trend in Singapore.
His restaurant, Cure has been rated as one of Singapore's hottest restaurants, by Eater US. The food at Cure is inspired by the season's best produce. Cure cuisine highlights cutting edge and imaginative culinary fare, and is named one of the Independent UK's 'Best Eats' in Singapore.
Excerpts of the interview follow;
What inspired you to become a chef?
In essence, it was the stunning Irish landscape that I come from and the seafood dishes that are closely entwined with the Irish culture. When I was still in school, I used to watch with fascination as my elder brother created vibrant and flavourful dishes. This sense of awe of re-creating happiness on a plate has brought me a long way and the mentors that I have met along the journey have inspired me in countless ways.
At a time when the global palate is shifting towards eating healthy and eating green, is it a challenge to strike a balance between the perfect taste and putting out a perfectly healthy dish?
It certainly is a challenge and I must say that chefs world over have considered it as an exciting challenge that prompts their imagination and creativity. Personally, I am a great believer of dishes that feature fresh vegetables, more raw ingredients as well as fresh produce from the land. My restaurant menu features many vegetable dishes as I prefer going without meat quite frequently.
Do you believe in exploring a country through its cuisine? If yes, what is the most fascinating cuisine that you have come across so far?
The fact that I am a chef has granted me the privilege of travelling the world, and exploring the diversity of cuisines across regions. If I have to pick one particular cuisine, I would say that I find Japanese culinary traditions the most intriguing. The amount of technique that goes into create a dish is simply amazing. I also like the fact that Japanese dishes give prominence to lightness and freshness.
Your favourite ingredients?
My number one ingredient wouldbe beetroot, which I even use for desserts. In addition fresh oysters and olive oil are favourites too.
Your word of advice to those who aspire to be chefs?
Do it for the love of food and not for the aura of magnificence the profession entails. Learn your craft well and always be patient. Do not get carried away by momentary glories.
What do you think of the experience on-board SriLankan Airlines and at Semondu?
It was my pleasure to have flown with SriLankan Airlines. I had a wonderful journey on-board and would certainly fly once again with SriLankan Airlines. On the other hand, I find that Semondu is a spectacular restaurant venue. Situated in the heart of the capital Colombo, it takes you to a different world when you walk in through the doors. The staff has been very attentive and friendly. The kitchen staff was wonderfully supportive, talented and understanding.
What do you think of Sri Lanka?
I am thoroughly enjoying my stay in Sri Lanka. There is so much to explore yet there is very little time. The people here are ever so kind and attentive. I am quite excited to explore the beaches of the southern coast during my stay.