Svanika de Silva is an aspiring chef de partie who dreams of manning a kitchen one day. She set the stones for her culinary journey ahead by taking hospitality courses at the Sri Lanka Institute of Hotel Management (SLITHM). After completing her studies, she went on to industrial training, which unfortunately came to a stop due to the pandemic and the lockdowns that were taking place. Her passion for cooking, and the free time she had on her hands, led her to start up an online shop for her cooking.
Her Instagram shop “Taku Treats” was derived from the word “Otaku”, which is what an anime enthusiast is called. “Anime is what inspired me to become a chef actually; I was watching quite a lot of cooking anime around the time I was in school, and looking at all that delicious food and the way that the characters were so involved in what they did, really solidified my desire to become a chef.”
Talking about her experience in the few months of industry training that she underwent, she told us that the most significant factor she learned was exemplary hygiene. “I learned how to be super hygienic, and now even at home, I go through the same procedure I learned at the hotel. I learnt the right and wrong way of doing things, that made cooking a lot less hectic.”
She shared that all her recipes have their own unique twist to them, adding: “I cook with my feelings and instincts. I’m not someone that follows a recipe. I always eyeball it while cooking; I’ve found that it adds more flavour to the dish and my clients can really experience something special.”
She discovered her love for the culinary arts at a very young age, by cooking for her older brother. Once she began tossing and throwing ingredients together to create her masterpiece, she was struck with how much she enjoyed it. Over time, she began experimenting with more intricate dishes, and joked that she was shocked that it turned out edible. After trying out the classic Sri Lankan dishes, she learned how to cook western dishes as well; once she mastered the art of both, she ventured into fusion cuisine, again with her own twist. “Cooking is my escape. It’s always been something I really loved doing – it was never a chore. I know most people find it tiresome, but the kitchen is my happy place.”
For now, her Instagram page focuses on her signature white chocolate biscuit pudding. She explained how this creation came to be: “Everyone loves a classic chocolate biscuit pudding; but not many people have heard of a white chocolate biscuit pudding.” So, she thought to herself, “why not do something innovative?” and thus the white chocolate biscuit pudding was born. She told us that no batch is ever the same, because she doesn’t stick to measured out ingredients, but the one thing that they all have in common is that it’s delicious. In a mouth-watering detailing of this pudding, she said: “Topped with a layer of white chocolate shavings, it’s decadent and gooey with white chocolate oozing between the layers. The biscuit base is just the right balance between crunch but soft; it’s so good that it melts in your mouth!” After that description, how can anyone resist trying it out?
De Silva also has experience in private catering. She started out cooking for her mom’s friends, and they loved it so much that she garnered a network of contacts that allowed her to start off on catering. Her first-ever catering spread was a feast for the gods – roast chicken, veggies and herbs, a variety of carbs, and of course, her biscuit pudding. She told us that she loves cooking savoury items, but she enjoys the fun that comes with making desserts.
She plans on continuing her studies in 2021, while gaining more experience in the industry to up her cooking skills. She hopes that in 2021, she’ll be able to learn more and with her latest venture, understand the industry better.
Even though her Instagram page currently only has biscuit pudding on offer, you can drop her a message with your requests and she’s able to make it for you. She’s also available for private catering functions.