As Clipboard closes in on its 500th clip member, we want to focus on the individuals and businesses that are truly passionate about this industry. If we want to change the game, create an identity in this fragmented market, it will take people and businesses like these to showcase how abundant we are in talent, passion and ambition. The best people, the best places and the best industry.
Clip Member Profile
Name: Damith Heenitagala
Position Held: Head Chef
Current Venue: Baille St Merchants
When did you decide to pursue a career in the hospitality industry?
I think i was around 23 when i first started in the industry. I started off in front of house and eventually worked my way up to a venue manager position. A little over 7 years being in on the opposite side off the pass, i decided to follow my passion for food and took the plunge into the kitchen and I haven’t looked back since.
What drives you to be the best you can be in your career?
I love seeing people enjoy what I create. I truly believe food is a form of art that we experience through all our senses; taste, smell, touch, sight and how we hear. I think the way we hear food is what drives me. How people describe an experience or hearing laughter around a table. Thats what cooking is about to me.
What is your favourite dish to create?
I guess thats a hard one to answer as I find I’m always evolving. I love to re create my memories of food growing up and add my own style. Right now, living and cooking in Sri Lanka I’m surrounded by memories of my mother and my late grandmother, so I’m inspired by the food they made or loved.
What mechanism do you currently use to gain recognition?
Instagram at the moment however, it doesn’t provide a professional outlet for recognition. Us chefs are competitive, we have big egos and we love to out do our peers. Its not a bad thing as it pushes us to be better and keeps our industry evolving.
Thats why a networking media such as clipboard is perfect in our industry. We get to show off to our peers, get practical feedback, be inspired and help each other develop new ways of looking at ingredients.
What does the future of the hospitality industry look like to you?
The industry is forever changing. Chefs are paving the way for a new era of cooking and inspiring young chefs to be the best. We seem to be banding together more as a community , which helps each other grow. I look at chefs like David Chang, Rene Redzepi and the late Anthony Bourdain who have inspired the change and growth in our industry. They make us look at food differently and educate the consumer on the realities of our industry.
Hospitality will always have a bright future as there are 3 things we cannot live without; Air, water and FOOD.
We would like to thank Chef Damith for his time and insights of the industry. Showcase your identity and start building your professional network today.
CLIP! CONNECT! CREATE!