Sebastian: “Many years ago, my mother went on holiday in Sweden for a few months and during her stay she learnt many things on European cuisine, especially Swedish cuisine. When she came back to Sri Lanka, many Swedish people working in the country at that time found out about her cuisine and came here to taste her food. That’s why she decided to cook mainly Swedish traditional dishes. The restaurant was always full on the weekends and there was much to do, so I started to help out in the kitchen. It was my kitchen debut.
In 1984 my parents rented the restaurant and sent me to Germany to study in a catering school. After graduating I came back to Sri Lanka and worked in a couple of hotels, and in 1987 I was hired at the Hilton hotel in Colombo. Then I went to work at the Hilton hotel in Tokyo, where, after a while, I got offered a job as chef in the United States, in a restaurant in Beverly Hills. I worked there for a few years, then in San Francisco and a few other cities in the US.
I came back to Sri Lanka from time to time, hoping to open up my parents’ restaurant again, but the socio-political situation of the country was complicated and I still wasn’t ready. I had to wait until 2004 to fulfill my dream.
In 2006 Sri Lanka was hit deeply by the tsunami, but luckily our restaurant wasn’t that much affected by it. The city was full of volunteers helping people and local businesses like us to get back on their feet. It was around that time that I started making hamburgers, because many of the volunteers were from the US.
In the back of the restaurant there is a big garden where I grow fruit trees, sugar cane, vegetables, and many aromatic herbs; all ingredients which I use in my dishes.
The backyard is also where I spend my free time doing my favorite hobby: building cars“.