No academic qualifications. No hospitality training. Sheer gut feeling, intuition and God-given talent were all she needed to make a name in the art of gourmet-cooking. “She churns out curry in such dramatic flavors that she literally turned tables in her favour. In turn she has been crowned the unrivalled ‘Curry Queen’ of Sri Lanka. She has gathered a multitude of connoisseurs from all four corners of the world who follow her like the pied piper, mesmerized by her deft hands that churn out heaven in a curry.” Internationally known as the Queen of Curries and Sri Lanka’s Ambassador of food, Sikhamani Felicia Wakwella Sorensen is once again teamed up with Curry Leaf Chef Karu for yet another culinary extravaganza.
It will be a delighting diner who will visit the Curry Leaf at Hilton Colombo from February 10 to 19 with a feast of authentic Sri Lankan cuisine using fresh ingredients along with exotic spices. Sharing the island food experience, Felicia and Curry Leaf Chef Karu will also prepare delicious sweetmeats for those with a sweet tooth! In addition to all that is mentioned, specialty cocktails and mocktails using Sri Lankan beverage will also be on the menu.
Though Felicia’s passion for cooking was probably started at childhood in Sri Lanka, her overnight popularity as a celebrity chef begun at Hong Kong that has a fascinating story behind. Felicia spent 30 years in Hong Kong and was a receptionist at the Hilton where she happened to notice that the curry at the coffee shop was lousy. So she proceeded to investigate and went to the coffee shop to let the chef know. She began to teach him how to cook authentic curries. The news and paparazzi media found out about it and before she knew it, she became a celebrity and her culinary career was off and running.” I would say paparazzi made me famous overnight. In Hong Kong they had curries from India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Macau, Philippines and other regional countries. But Sri Lankan curry was unheard of. So, I gave it, Sorensen style and it caught on. Besides I was a female chef with the ‘soft touch’. I only had to do the refining!’” She said.
She has had many awards and honours conferred on her. She was bestowed the revered title of Sikhamani in 1992 by the then President Ranasinghe Premadasa. She was the first and the only Sri Lankan Chef living in Hong Kong, to have received that honour. She thrived upon many exciting hotel career opportunities. She is also a qualified Dietitian. She marketed Sri Lankan spice mixes overseas to her own recipe under the brand ‘Felicia’s Kitchen’. She authored ‘The Exotic Taste of Paradise’ a culinary masterpiece; the title positively inspired the then Air Lanka tag line. She still inspires Sri Lanka Tourism with her expertise. Sorensen’s skill and reputation gained her entree into the ranks of Les Disciples d’ Auguste Escoffier in 1980, as well as being honoured in 1992 as the first Asian Chef to officiate at the Robert Mondavi Winery’s Great Chefs programme.
With her greeting of ‘Hellow Darling’ to every male and female member of the press and the hotel staff and even to the General manager of Colombo Hilton, Felicia certainly makes her presence felt in every way where ever she hang around.
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