Meet O Tama Carey

About

Name: O Tama Carey

Heritage: Sri Lankan

Position: Chef and Owner

Company: Lankan Filling Station

What three ingredients are particularly representative of your culture’s cooking and why?

Definitely curry leaves, you can’t cook Sri Lankan food without it, it’s native to Sri Lanka and India.

I’d also say Maldive fish, this dried salty fish is quite specific to Sri Lanka and comes from trading between Maldivian islands and Sri Lanka. The flavour is very particular and distinctive to Sri Lankan food.

Also, coriander seeds, they’re the base of all curry powders so are very important in Sri Lankan cooking.

What is a favourite dish that you make that is particularly representative of your cultural heritage? Why is this dish important to you?

For me it’d be my Nan’s Love Cake. She made this for special occasions and guarded her recipe very tightly but relented and taught me, which is why it’s on the menu at the Lankan Filling Station. I’ve tweaked it a little but it’s mainly her traditional Sri Lankan recipe, written in an exercise book in her handwriting and prepared how she taught me to make it.

What’s your typical dinner at home?

Take away usually! It just gets so busy sometimes, but we love to order a lot of Malaysian and Thai food, we love our food spicy and tasty.

Why should workplaces get involved in A Taste of Harmony?

 Food like music and art speaks a universal language. Australia’s multiculturalism is in part based on our love for each other’s cuisines. A Taste of Harmony brings that into the workplace, because with food comes the stories of our lives, not to mention the pleasure of being treated to new flavours and something exotic that is home cooked. Hopefully it will also lead to a curiosity to learn and experiment with new flavours.

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