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Food & Drink

Durian — beware the ‘thorny king of fruits’

Kitchen Confidential: The soon-to-open W Dubai The Palm’s executive pastry chef on the time he tried to bake a soufflé with the smelly durian

I couldn’t even taste what I had created — it was that bad!

UAE residents are known to dine out more than people in most other countries, making the people who feed us even more invaluable. Kitchen Confidential is an on-going series where we get to know some of the chefs contributing to the melting pot the country has become.

Kapila Amaratunga is the executive pastry chef at the W Dubai The Palm, which is opening soon.

What’s your go-to chocolate dessert that we can make at home, and what are the most important elements to keep in mind?

Chocolate petit pot au! Precision is key when creating this dessert. My recipe calls for exactly 125mg nothing more, nothing less. Everyone must remember that even an extra ounce of a certain ingredient will make a tremendous difference to the whole outcome of the pastry.

I couldn’t even taste what I had created — it was that bad!

What’s your top life hack for the layman in the kitchen?

My top life hack for the layman in the kitchen is to enjoy the moment! Nowadays, we have enough stress at work and in everyday life. Food is something that should connect people and be a unique way to show one’s personality.

I believe there should be no stress in the kitchen, especially if you are preparing a dish for someone you love or care about.

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What tools or equipment should every man have in his kitchen?

Without a doubt, a weighing scale! As mentioned before, precision is key when it comes to a successful pastry kitchen. Unlike a savoury kitchen, I have to make sure all my desserts remain exactly the same by using the consistant amount of ingredients over and over again.

What’s the one dish you would never eat again?

While I was visiting Singapore for a national team competition (representing the UAE, of course), I accidently used a fruit named “black pearl durian”, aka the “thorny king of fruits” in a soufflé I was making. I was shocked as I managed to pull it off, however I couldn’t even taste what I had created — it was that bad!

I simply cannot stand the smell of durian, and of course, we lost this competition. I will never eat a dish containing Durian ever again.

If you could choose your final meal, what would it be?

Normally I am quite a demanding person when it comes to dining. However, as simple as it may be, I would definitely choose some delicious artisan bread and butter for my final meal! Bread and butter is a dish that holds so many of our history’s and cultures together. I think their pairing is by far the most well balanced marriage in culinary! It’s astonishing how versatile the combination is, where one can either have it before or after the main meal. I used to eat toasted bread straight from a cast iron pan, where my mother would spread butter and rock sugar. It was so simple but delicious, in texture, temperature and flavour. The best dessert.

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