Instructor at Empower Culinary & Hospitality School - West
I always wanted to give back something to the community and ECHS seemed the best place to realise my life-long dream
Merrill J. Fernando’s vision speak volumes of his character, values and & demeanour. He has dedicated much of his life to tea, his company, country and its people. I would like to convey my gratitude to MJF for stepping up and inviting aspiring youth
from vulnerable communities to the world of cuisine by giving them the support to follow their culinary dreams
Life doesn’t get better always by chance. Sometimes it gets better by change. My transition from a Chef to a Culinary Instructor was life-affirming. It is a decision that renewed my passion for culinary arts and gave me a whole new perspective of myself and life. I made my first forays into Chefdom in 1992 as a student from the first intake of Ceylon Hotel School. It was my former School Head Master who recognised my passion and inspired a desire in me to join the Hospitality industry. I started my culinary career as a Management Trainee in the Kitchen Department of one of the oldest Star Class Hotels in Sri Lanka. Over the last 3 decades, I have gathered remarkable amounts of experiences working as an Executive Chef in more than 15 hotels of both local and international chains.
When my father passed away from Cancer, a few years ago, I was compelled to stay at home. During this time I was contemplating a career change. In 2015, I got the opportunity to join Dilmah’s Empower Culinary & Hospitality School (ECHS). I always wanted to give back something to the community and ECHS seemed the best place to realise my life-long dream. We provide skills, training & exposure for less-privileged youth to enter the growing culinary and hospitality industry. It is heartening to see our Alumni –– who are accomplished chefs at leading hotels, resorts and restaurants in the country today, dropping by to visit us and share their expertise and experiences
with the juniors. As their instructor, it makes me happy to know that I had made a difference in their lives through guidance and knowledge-sharing.
I always wanted to give back something to the community and ECHS seemed the best place to realise my life-long dream.