The honour of teaching Values & Respect.

by Dilhan

It is always an honour for us to welcome aspiring chefs from our Empower Culinary School for a Tea Appreciation. Empower was established as a part of our pledge to make the world a better tea, and we share our earnings from Dilmah Tea and Cinnamon to offer free vocational training to youth who cannot afford culinary training. There is no greater fulfillment of our purpose in life than supporting young people as they bloom socially, economically, academically and personally. Twice, occasionally three times a year, we welcome the current batch of students at Empower West (Moratuwa, on the outskirts of Colombo) and East (Kalkudah, near the Eastern city of Batticaloa) to share our love for tea.

At the last session earlier this month, Team Dilmah and I were honoured to have an opportunity to explain the value of ingredients, and the role of great Chefs in understanding the importance of respecting aroma, taste, natural goodness in ingredients like fine Tea and Ceylon Cinnamon.

Our students typically start with a desire to cook and an image of great chefs defined by televised cooking shows. We try to unlearn that perception and explain the importance of cuisine beyond taste and commercial success; the knowledge a chef must have about each of the ingredients they use, its cultural significance and wellness, the method of cooking, temperatures that will not diminish either, and the presentation to the guest. All these are vital for the appreciation of fine food and the makings of a great chef.

Explaining the uniqueness & sophistication of Ceylon Cinnamon as an ingredient that deserves respect.

It is an unfortunate reality that in our hurried world, few people know how to brew a perfect cup of tea. So my colleagues and I start with an explanation of how to brew tea to appreciate the flavours and texture in different teas, and their variety. Tea has an extraordinary ability to dignify fine food, and our training includes both tea infused food and the elegant pairing that is possible. We talked about the delicate sophistication of a fine single estate Ceylon Silver Tips and our magical Ceylon Cinnamon.

In describing the occasion I am not using the word ‘honour’ lightly, because as we acquire experience and knowledge beyond what books and lecturers can teach, it is a moral and personal imperative to share that knowledge for the benefit of future generations. It is unquestionably an honour to impress upon young and earnest minds the importance of integrity, quality, and respect in the craft that we hope will inspire and one day provide for them and their families.

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