Unlike the biggest names in the industry, it would come across as a big surprise to know that Prasad’s journey began with zero interest or passion for cooking. “I never had any passion for cooking and was never even encouraged to cook as well. My culinary journey was solely by chance or should I say that I am a destiny’s child” says Prasad about his career.
Coming from an army background and being raised by his grandparents in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Prasad has always been independent thinking as an individual, and hence, had no plans of pursuing higher studies after school. At the age of 17, he started working at John Keells Holdings Hotel, Sri Lanka, and although it was a rough start for him, things very soon began to look good as he had taken his career very seriously and during this period he also achieved his two years of Culinary Diploma, from the Colombo International Hotel School which helped put him on a stronger footing.
His first Luxury Hotel property break was with the Oberoi in Sri Lanka where he learned a lot, also to excel in his profession and was fortunate to open restaurants as well within the property. In 1997, while still with the Oberoi, he was amongst the eight Sri Lankan Chefs chose from the many for a job opportunity in Dubai, and so began to work with the Sheraton group in the UAE. Thereafter, he worked with several prestigious properties including Le Meridien, where he worked his way up to become the Head Chef which then was followed by the opportunity to open the Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort, Fujairah, and from 2012 and until now he is the Director Of Culinary, here.
As Vice President for the East Coast, Emirates Culinary Guild, Prasad to is credited with bringing over a hundred participants for the very first time to the Gulfood Emirates Salon Culinaire 2012, from all of East Coast, which by all means was a highlight then. It was during this time Prasad and his General Manager Ashraf Helmy started shaping up the East Coast Salon Chefs Competition with the support of Emirates Culinary Guild. The first East Coast event was organized in 2012 which turned out to be a huge success and within a short two years of its inception, it went international with more than 400 contestants from over 30 hotels in the UAE and four other countries joining. The event also attracted the attention of the World Association of Chef Societies (Worldchefs), Government officials and Suppliers & Sponsors, all wanting to become a part of this annual event.
Adding to his “to keep doing more” motto, Prasad is also a senior member of Emirates Culinary Guild, Vice President - Parents Advisory Board to Our Own English High School, Captain of the Parents Cricket Team in Fujairah who became the champions for the Dessert Cubs Cricket Academy (DCCA) 2019 and Executive Committee Member for “Sahana” – a Government approved charity organization, that has so far distributed over 8000 dry ration packs for individuals and families during the ongoing COVID 19 in UAE, just to name a few.
Prasad’s meteoric rise in his career should not be confused with being lucky. He never had it easy, “There were times when things were extremely difficult in the kitchen. I have been through it all and ever since made it a point to let go of that typical culture and instead choose to motivate & encourage the people around. And if this could build a great team to deliver just about anything, I would prefer it this way, positive nurturing over anything else”, says Prasad.
“As industry veterans, it is our responsibility to groom the youngsters of today and encourage them to become passionate with discipline, the very essence of the Chefs Whites, for this great industry. Hence it is important to take our role as role-models for them and imbibe upon them to be ready for the challenges, changes and to be flexible, to help improve and grow in this ever-evolving industry.”
Prasad is the kind who will not let any kind of challenge, to crush his spirit & will power and when asked about how he is coping with the COVID 19 situation that has hit the hospitality industry really bad, he said, “My personal opinion of this pandemic moment, is that although the hospitality industry is the first of the five highly affected industries, it is also a great opportunity for us to put our experience, thinking and most of all the adaptability to work, to help come through these rough time successfully”
“We at Miramar Resort have set a great example, by being the first hotel to reopen on the east coast after being closed for nearly two months and quarantining nearly four hundred of the staff & management members, helping take care of all their needs through these challenging times. Thanks to our decision-makers to keep our mission, vision & values firmly in place, despite the challenges. I truly believe this will give a huge morale boost both to the team and to all people around at large.” Last but not least, our regular guests and as well as the UAE Staycationers are today enjoying the flavour & fervour of the East Coast Miramar.
Image Courtesy: Daily FT, The Caterer Middle East.
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