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Traditional Food Values to be Re-introduced at Army's First Exhibition of Culinary Arts &;amp; Skills

All is set to open the first-ever grand Exhibition of Culinary Arts and Skills of Army personnel (Hela Viru Rasa Udanaya - 2014) in Nuwara Eliya, beginning April 15 when the area adorns festive garbs during the seasonal ‘Wasantha Udanaya’ in the coming week, announced Major General U.A.B Medawela, Commander, Security Force Headquarters - Central (SFHQ-C), the chief organizer behind the initiation of the programme, on a conceptual notion of the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake.

Wednesday’s (9) media briefing at Sri Lanka Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Mess Hall on the planned maiden project of this nature for the first time in the Army history was told that Army Battalions, stationed in all corners of the island, would present varying culinary habits, specific to respective areas by preparing those dishes at Nuwara Eliya, enabling the visitors to enjoy the exclusive ‘regional’ flavours, prepared by Army chefs.

Confectionaries such as Bondi Aluwa, Patta Aluwa, Patta Dodol, Kurahan Thalapa and Aanama, Kirala Drinks, etc are now fast disappearing along with many other local vegetable and sweet meat varieties. ‘Hela Viru Rasa Udanaya - 2014’ at Nuwara Eliya is in this way an attempt to revive these culinary habits, Major General Medawela said.   

The project, meant to enlighten the public on the quality and nutritional value of those foods from different corners of the island, highlight the importance of using indigenous food varieties at local level, explore possibilities for introducing those foods to new markets and showcase culinary skills of Army personnel which remained not very exposed to the general public, will continue until April 22 around the popular Gregory’s Lake.

This is a novel approach to resurrect fast dying food varieties, educate the public on use of traditional food varieties, encourage the public to analyze qualitative ingredients in such foods with the cooperation of nutritionists and cooks on hand through practical demonstrations during the New Year season, the media gathering was told.

Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake, well aware of myriad food varieties being prepared across the country by the troops, expects to make it an annual feature in the Army calendar during the popular April season in Nuwara Eliya.  Commander of the Army also intends to popularize those dishes among the general public as well as among troops outside those regions in order to maintain high levels of health and physical fitness.

All varieties of those rare and exclusive food items, prepared then and there are sold at concessionary rates with special discounts to school students. At the venue, chefs from the Army-owned Laya Hotel Chain will add colour by preparing Chinese and Middle East dishes.        

This exhibition of culinary arts is to be ceremonially opened by the Commander of the Army on April 15 at the invitation of Major General U.A.B Medawela. A booklet on these culinary habits is also to be released at the inaugural ceremony, Media was told.

Funds generated by the project are to be utilized for the greater benefit of the soldiers and members of their families, including those who have turned disable.

44 Army music bands, including Calypso teams would provide rhythmic beats to the exhibition venue on all 7 days.

Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya, Military Spokesman, Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera, Director, Directorate of Media, several senior officers and a gathering of media personnel attended the occasion.