The world famous culinary celebrity of home cooking, Nigella Lawson, was the talk of the town in a series of events hosted with Cinnamon Life from the 21st to 23rd June 2018 in Sri Lanka.
During her visit, Nigella toured the island and experienced Sri Lanka through the vibrantly inspired Cinnamon properties before she made her formal public appearances at a cocktail and an in-conversation brunch with Nigella, followed by a high tea and a book signing.
Nigella was the third celebrity chef to be hosted by Cinnamon. She has inspired and nurtured home cooks around the world, since the publication of her first book in 1998, with her relaxed and accessible cooking style and engaging personality. She is an award-winning food writer, broadcaster, journalist and a well-loved television personality. In 1998 her first cookery book, ‘How to Eat’, was published and sold over 300,000 copies, becoming an instant best-seller. She published her second book in 2000, ‘How to Be a Domestic Goddess’, which won her the British Book Award for Author of the Year.
Before commencing her official trip to Yala, she made a brief stop at Cinnamon Lodge Habarana, from where she made her way to the Sigiriya Rock Fortress and the Gala Viharaya. With the limited time, she even made a point to visit the museums around Sigiriya. Before she took off to her next destination, she had a chance to meet with Buddhist monks, as well a palm reader.
Later she flew to Cinnamon Wild Yala on 21st June, to take on aYala safari trip accompanied by Chitral Jayatilake, Vice President, John Keells Group and Head of Nature Trails, who elaborated to Nigella on the wild life unique to Sri Lanka. She got an up close look at leopards who came right by her jeep, a mother bear and her two cubs, herds of elephants and few buffaloes whom she claimed was adorable to see. She was taken up by the numerous encounters she had with monkeys during her stay at Cinnamon properties outside Colombo, so much so, she now has countless photos of them on her phone. She later experienced a beautiful sunset dinner at Cinnamon Wild Yala with a view of the wild life sanctuary ahead of her.
Of the local cuisine she had the opportunity to try during her visit out of Colombo, she was intrigued by the jack fruit, particularly the ‘mallum’ and even asked the chef to show her how both the ‘mallum’ and the curry is made. She enjoyed Pol Pani Pancakes and was surprised that a dessert can be made using coconut. She even asked for a hopper pan to make some when she goes back to the UK. Maybe we may see some of our authentic Sri Lankan hoppers featured on her show!
After a refreshing champagne breakfast at Cinnamon Wild Yala the next day, Nigella made her way back to Colombo where a much awaited evening of cocktails was taking place the Atrium, Cinnamon Grand.Before her appearance at the cocktail, Nigella made time amidst her busy schedule to visit Cinnamon Grand’s authentic Sri Lankan Restaurant, Nuga Gama, to taste some more of the local sweets and beverages. Taking a seat under a clay hut complete with coconut thatch roofs, she tried some ‘Kavili’ such as Kokis and unique juices such as the ‘Siyambala’ drink.
Shortly afterwards, she joined the cocktail to greet many enthusiastic attendees of the event who had been waiting for an exclusive opportunity to meet Nigella in an intimate setting. Not only were the guests able to enjoy dishes made from recipes concocted by Nigella but also have an up-close interaction after her discussion with the compere for the day, Trishma Pinto.
Despite a jam-packed schedule the day before, she was back again at King’s Court, Cinnamon Lakeside, next day to an exciting in-conversation brunch with keen fans of Nigella in Colombo. She shared more about her intrigued interest in the local foods, followed shortly afterwards by her excitement in spotting wild animals in her Safari trip to Yala, two days ago.
The heightened level of enthusiasm followed all the way to the high tea that evening, where crowd’s lined up to for the event and even after, for the successful book signing that followed. In her on-stage discussion with the compere for the day, Dino Corera, she thanked Cinnamon Life for the tour made filled with new experiences of food, people and the wild animals!
Post event, she revealed her love for the Sri Lankan food ingredients. While coconut seem to be the ultimate favourite ingredient from Sri Lanka, for its diverse usage among all forms of dishes ranging from breakfast to dinner and even to the desserts, she also expressed her preference towards the use of chili and curry leaves used in main meals. She confessed that she would love to use fresh curry leaves in her dishes as seen here in Sri Lanka, however with the difficulty to grow a tropical plant in UK’s weather has thwarted her chances. She further explained that since the curry leaves available in the UK are kept stored, making them hard instead of fresh, she is looking to grow a small plant in the little green house she has back home.
When asked what she will be up to next after her trip to Sri Lanka, she laughed that she usually doesn’t make any and that she goes with the flow hence she doesn’t have any idea where she will be off to now or where she would appear in next!
Cinnamon Life aims to continually introduce an array of exciting events to our Sri Lankan audiences not only to redefine the city’s concept of entertainment and exposure, but also to give a taste of what is to expect from Cinnamon Life in the years to come. Catch a glimpse of what Cinnamon Life represents best – the very epitome of vibrancy, exclusivity and inspired living in modern South Asia. Stay tuned for future endeavors Cinnamon Life has in plan for 2018 and 2019.