Mandurah chef Sanjeewa Samarakoon wins Clubs WA Chef Challenge

GOLDEN: Mr Samarakoon loves bringing his Sri Lankan inspired cuisine to diners. Photo: Samantha Ferguson.

GOLDEN: Mr Samarakoon loves bringing his Sri Lankan inspired cuisine to diners. Photo: Samantha Ferguson.

Sanjeewa Samarakoon moved to Mandurah seven years ago with already extensive experience in the food industry.

When he started as the chef at Mandurah Offshore Fishing and Sailing Club's restaurant, Mr Samarakoon quickly became a popular fixture among customers with his tasty Sri Lankan dishes.

Turns out, it isn't just the locals who enjoy his cuisine, Mr Samarakoon was awarded winner of the prestigious Clubs WA Chef Challenge.

When the Mail arrived at the Club to talk to Mr Samarakoon, a patron emerged from her car and ran up to tell him how much she had enjoyed the Thai beef salad she had for dinner.

"I have to have some of the sauce to take home with me," she said.

Mr Samarakoon told the patron he would whip some up for her and put it in the fridge for her to pick up the next time she came for dinner.

Originally from Sri Lanka, Mr Samarakoon began his training while working at a small restaurant.

"When I was in Sri Lanka 15 years ago I started in the industry," he said.

"I worked at a restaurant in Sri Lanka and studied how to cook on the way."

In 2006, he moved to Australia and worked at a number of different restaurants, including at the Margaret River Hotel.

PRESTIGIOUS: The awards acknowledged excellence in the food industry. Photo: Samantha Ferguson.

PRESTIGIOUS: The awards acknowledged excellence in the food industry. Photo: Samantha Ferguson.

When Mr Samarakoon moved to Mandurah, he fell in love with the area.

"Mandurah is a beautiful place and I love living here," he said.

"I'd like to spend the rest of my life here."

With the Club restaurant giving him artistic freedom with his dishes, Mr Samarakoon said he enjoys infusing Sri Lankan cuisine with other flavours.

"I try to give the best experience to the customers, that is most important," he said.

"I like to give food the best taste and garnish it to look beautiful.

"I like putting more spicy flavours into the food - like the Thai beef salad."

The 2020/21 Clubs WA industry Awards for Excellence were held on Friday, September 10 at the Crown Ballroom in Perth.

Mr Samarakoon responded humbly that he enjoyed entering the challenge and was honoured to receive the award.