By Venessa Anthony
Amanee Jayawardena is the lady behind Angel Cupcakes and Canapé House. She has professionally studied commercial cookery in Australia and went on to make a name for herself back here in her home country. The Morning Brunch caught up with Jayawardena on a chat on her culinary journey.
How did you get where you are today?
I’m a qualified chef. I got into the hospitality industry at a young age, as that’s what I always wanted to do. I left for Melbourne at the age of 18 and I knew that was the place for me to achieve my goals and dreams. The moment I saw how diverse Melbourne was and how advanced its food industry is, I fell more and more in love with food.
They pride themselves in multinational cultures and cuisines. I learnt everything about international cookery, from wine to cheese and coffee. I was fortunate enough to attend the prestigious William Angliss Institute in Melbourne.
What inspired you to start up Canapé House?
The knowledge and experience I gained while working in Australia were unimaginable. I always wanted to start up a restaurant/catering service here, as I felt the lack of unique and exquisite canapés in Colombo. I had the opportunity to work at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and also worked at places like Crown Melbourne and local bistros, which gave me valuable experience in the industry.
Are you looking to expand into other food options or stick to canapés exclusively?
It’s not only canapés I do. We have been preparing and catering for private functions as well, from entrees to main courses and desserts.
How has your business been faring given the current economic instability? What obstacles have you had to overcome?
The economic crisis right now is the biggest challenge I’ve had to face in the hospitality industry. It’s very sad to see this amazing industry collapsing, with so many cafes, bakeries and restaurants closing down. We have managed to reach out to local producers on certain ingredients as there is a major import ban restriction affecting us on lots of food items we use.
These days, people seem to want more than food; they want an experience. As demand for more creativity in events grows, how do you respond?
I think our food industry and our people have come a long way. We have more knowledge about cuisines, which is great, and I love personalising and curating menus for events and supplying food items for different themes. We do fusion menus from canapés to Asian-inspired cuisines. My favourite, I would say, is French and Italian dishes.
Which of your canapés have been a big hit and why?
I would say fusion, yes definitely fusion canapés. Most of the time I come up with Asian flavours and locally inspired items with a twist of international flavours.
What makes your food different from other businesses serving similar products?
I personally believe it’s very important, similar to any other occupation, to have proper knowledge about food if you are in the hospitality or the restaurant industry. It’s an art. Having diverse knowledge and experience, as well as the food being unique to our own identity makes us different.
What’s next for your business?
I’m currently working on multicultural menus and ethnic menus for private fine dining functions. I’m also planning on having a launch and counting the days to Christmas with our new Christmas menu for this year, including both savoury and sweet items.