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Sri Lankan cuisine – a vision for the future at Bocuse d’Or Sri Lanka 2022

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Bocuse d’Or Sri Lanka and Dilmah have collaborated since the inception of the prestigious, global challenge in Sri Lanka, to inspire Sri Lankans with culinary ambition while exploring the potential for Sri Lankan cuisine in the 21st Century. With two young Sri Lankan Chefs winning Bocuse d’Or Sri Lanka 2022 and going on to represent Sri Lanka in the Asian finals, our island’s human and culinary potential were evident in abundance in the passion and commitment of each of the contestants. Also on display was the potential for modern, sustainable Sri Lankan cuisine in the hands of young women and men with culinary aspirations.Eightee teams – each comprising a chef and apprentice – produced aromas, flavours and textures inspired by Sri Lanka in a live cooking session of five hours and 35 minutes. They competed in the Sri Lanka national contest for an opportunity to represent Sri Lanka in the Asian semi final, eventually leading to Lyon, France and the final of Bocuse d’Or. Gold medallist Chef Madushanka De Silva and Commis Siyathma Perera from Waters Edge are the winners who will progress to representing Sri Lanka at Bocuse d’Or Asia.

The challenge which took place at the William Angliss Institute on April 27, 2022 was followed by an awarding ceremony held at Waters Edge, with French Ambassador Eric Lavertu, attending as Chief Guest. Also present were European Union Ambassador Denis Chaibi and Australian High Commissioner David Holly and their spouses.

The winners will now take forth the flavours of Sri Lanka at the Bocuse d’Or Asia Finals, in order to progress to the grand finals in Lyon, France. Speaking at the event, Dilmah CEO, Dilhan C. Fernando explained the significance of Bocuse d’Or for Sri Lanka,

“Bocuse d’Or Sri Lanka is not simply the world’s most prestigious culinary competition; it is unlocking the value of Sri Lankan ingredients – adding value to our exports – unlocking the potential in the young women and men who have experienced this challenge and who are ready to face the culinary world.”

President of Bocuse d’Or Sri Lanka, Rohan Fernandopulle added,

“As we face the worst economic crisis in Sri Lanka, we are conscious of how it has impacted the hospitality industry and the livelihood of the people who are in the trade. In such times, we must collaborate to maintain and uplift employee morale in efforts to sustain the industry… Participating in such global events will allow chefs to learn, develop new skills and techniques, network both locally and internationally, and most importantly, provide purpose to be resilient in these trying times.”

The distinguished panel of Judges included the ‘Godfather’ of Singapore’s Culinary Fraternity – Chef Otto Weibel as Chief Judge, Chef Roberto Beltramini from Italy and Belgian Chef Michael Saelen. Addressing his experience as first-time judge for Bocuse d’Or Sri Lanka, was Official Worldchefs Judge since 2006, Robert Beltramini, who said,

“I was very happy to see that all the Chefs had put a lot of energy into what we have seen today. It’s been an amazing journey for me through all the spices and flavours… It’s very important to show the spirit of Bocuse d’Or and you showed it today.”

Chef M.M.A.Manathunga and Commis Dilhan Saraiffodeen from Grand Hotel, Nuwara Eliya won Silver medals, while Chef Ethige Mihishan Rashminga Silva and Commis Induwara Pathiranage from Hilton Colombo Residences were chosen Bronze medallists. A special awards for Best Tea Inspired Dish was awarded to Chef A.C.Madhawa and Commis P.P.Thennakoon from Cinnamon Grand Hotel, whose Dilmah Berry Sensation Ceylon Tea infused beetroot in chicken leg ragout won the judges’ acclaim. Dilhan Saraiffodeen from Grand Hotel, Nuwara Eliya secured the award for ‘Best Commis’.

Dilmah was the main sponsor of Bocuse d’Or Sri Lanka with other sponsors So Sri Lanka, Ceylon Hotel School Graduates Association, William Angliss, Unilever Food Solutions, Sabatino Tartufi, Nestle Professional, Maxies, CDC Events, Round Island, East-West Food (PVT) Ltd, Sri Lankan Airlines, Meadow Land, Singer, Red FM, SRK Portraits Photography Directors LK and Pulse.



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Cinnamon Air resumes daily scheduled flights in Paradise

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Cinnamon Air, Sri Lanka’s premier domestic airline, has resumed daily scheduled flights after a temporary suspension during the COVID-19 pandemic. The airline is the only domestic carrier in Sri Lanka offering daily scheduled flights and the only such airline to operate flights from the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) with a dedicated passenger terminal and aircraft maintenance facility.

As the airline resumes its daily scheduled flight operation from 15th December 2022, the entire Cessna 208 fleet of Cinnamon Air will operate to destinations such as Sigiriya, Castlereagh, Trincomalee, Batticaloa (serving Pasikudah), Koggala and Weerawila from (BIA) and Water’s Edge Colombo. The daily scheduled flights were temporarily halted during the pandemic due to the sharp decline in tourist arrivals (the key source of demand for the airline) to the country.

However, while strictly adhering to health and safety protocols, the charter flight service continued without disruption. During this period of reduced demand, Cinnamon Air geared itself to better serve its customers through streamlining operations by relocating to a new state-of-the-art aircraft maintenance facility (hangar) at BIA, which is in close proximity to its passenger terminal. As visitor arrivals improve, the airline is expected to be the preferred choice for safe and convenient mode of travel for tourists to swiftly reach popular destinations within the island.

Regarding the resumption of the scheduled flight operation, Sean Dwight, the Chief Executive Officer of Cinnamon Air, commented, “We have been a premier mode of transportation to many individuals visiting Sri Lanka, enabling them to reach popular destinations throughout Sri Lanka in a hassle-free manner at a fraction of the travel time.

To ensure smooth connectivity with our flights, without long transit times, we have synchronized our flight times with the arrival and departure times of Sri Lankan Airlines and other major international airlines. He continued, “as the tourism industry in Sri Lanka is regaining its volumes, we are poised to add value to foreign travelers’ experience in Sri Lanka through our scheduled flights which, in turn, will enhance the image of the country as an upmarket tourist destination. In fact, our passengers consider us as an attraction in addition to being a mode of travel due to the unique experience of taking off and landing on water as well as the breathtaking aerial views of Sri Lanka. Further, in order to ensure that our travelers have a safe and enjoyable travel experience, we have health and safety protocols in place, on board as well as prior to boarding the flight”.

Cinnamon Air (www.cinnamonair.com), owned and operated by Saffron Aviation (Pvt) Limited, is a joint venture between Sri Lanka’s largest listed conglomerate, John Keells Holdings PLC, MMBL Leisure Holdings (a part of the Mercantile Merchant Bank Group) and Phoenix Ventures (parent of the Brandix Group). In addition to scheduled flights, Cinnamon Air also offers charter services to and between all Airports and Water Aerodromes in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, all Cinnamon Air scheduled flights operate in codeshare with Sri Lankan Airlines, consequent to which they are also available for sale throughout the Sri Lankan Airlines network and all Travel Agents around the world via Global Distribution Systems, under a “UL” designated flight number.

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Earnings from merchandise exports decline for first time since March

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External Sector Performance – October 2022

Earnings from merchandise exports declined in October 2022, on a year-on-year basis, for the first time since March 2022, mainly due to lower earnings from garments exports. The decline in import expenditure continued in October 2022, (y-o-y), for the eighth consecutive month, despite recording an increase, compared to September 2022.

The merchandise trade deficit recorded a notable contraction in October 2022, compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, the workers’ remittances steadied and earnings from tourism improved in October 2022, whereby earnings from tourism crossed over USD 1 bn during January-October 2022, while workers’ remittances reached about USD 3 bn during January-October 2022. Foreign investment in the government securities market and the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) recorded a marginal net inflow during October 2022. The Central Bank continued to provide forex requirement to finance essential imports, exhausting the liquid level of gross official reserves. Meanwhile, the weighted average spot exchange rate in the interbank market remained around Rs. 363 per US dollar during the month .

Merchandise Trade Balance and Terms of Trade

Trade Balance: The deficit in the merchandise trade account narrowed to US dollars 285 million in October 2022, compared to the deficit of US dollars 502 million recorded in October 2021, despite it widened compared to September 2022. The cumulative deficit in the trade account during January-October 2022 recorded at US dollars 4,389 million, declined from US dollars 6,501 million recorded over the same period in 2021. The major contributory factors for the decline in the cumulative trade deficit are shown in Figure 1.

Terms of Trade: Terms of trade, i.e., the ratio of the price of exports to the price of imports, deteriorated by 4.0 per cent in October 2022, compared to October 2021, as the increase in import prices surpassed the increase in export prices.

Performance of Merchandise Exports1

Overall exports: Earnings from merchandise exports declined by 11.9 per cent in October 2022, over October 2021, to US dollars 1,051 million for the first time since March 2022. Meanwhile, export earnings in October 2022 recorded a decline for the second time on month-on-month basis. A decline in earnings was observed in industrial and agricultural exports, driven by lower demand mainly for garment exports due to increased global inflation conditions, while a marginal increase was recorded in mineral exports. Cumulative export earnings during January-October 2022 increased by 8.9 per cent over the same period in the last year to US dollars 11,032 million, which was mainly driven by the improvements in industrial exports.

Industrial exports: Earnings from the export of industrial goods declined in October 2022 by 13.4 per cent, compared to October 2021, mainly due to the decline in the exports of garments by 12.9 per cent, food, beverages, and tobacco by 51.3 per cent (primarily, miscellaneous food preparations) and transport equipment by 60.7 per cent (due to the base effect of exporting cruise ships in October 2021). Exports of garments to most of the major markets recorded a decline (the USA, the EU and the UK). Further, earnings from exports of petroleum products that comprise bunkering and aviation fuel also declined due to lower export volumes despite a notable increase in average export prices in line with higher global fuel prices.

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CSE’s net foreign inflows cross Rs 20 billion mark

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By Hiran H. Senewiratne

The CSE remained bearish yesterday with net foreign inflows year to date crossing more than the Rs 20 billion mark, while both indices began the fresh week positively, stock market analysts said.

Amid those developments the stock market was positive throughout the day, because China has expressed its interest in debt restructuring for Sri Lanka. It has invited the IMF delegation to begin a discussion, market analysts said.

Both indices showed an upward trend. The All- Share Price Index was up by 72.7 points and S and P SL 20 up by 43.6 points.

Turnover stood at Rs 3.1 billion with two crossings; those crossings were reported in Expo Lanka Holdings, which crossed 2.3 million shares to the tune of Rs 403 million and its shares traded at Rs 205 and John Keels Holdings 2.9 million shares crossed to the tune of RS 427 million with its shares trading at Rs 147.

In the retail market top five companies that contributed to the turnover were; Browns Investments Rs 626 million, Expo Lanka Rs 289 million, Dialog Rs 169 million, Lanka IOC Rs 142 million and LOLC Holdings Rs 118 million.

It is said that high net worth and institutional investor participation was noted in Expo Lanka Holdings.

Mixed interest was noted in Lanka IOC, Aitken Spence and JKH, while retail interest noted in Brown Investments, LOLC Finance and SMB Leasing.

The transport sector was the top contributor to the market turnover on account of Expo Lanka holdings.

During the day 149.5 million share volumes changed hands in 23000 transactions.

Yesterday, the US dollar parity rate was Rs 371.75.

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