Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau warmly welcomed the Italian Celebrity Chef Gabriele Rubini aka Chef Rubio who landed in Sri Lanka recently. Chef Rubio arrived in Sri Lanka upon a special invitation extended by Embassy of Italy in Colombo to participate at the forum on Mediterranean Diet, which was held on 16th October at Shangri–La hotel, with the participation of Chef’s Guild of Sri Lanka and renowned personalities of culinary industry of Sri Lanka. The Embassy of Italy in Sri Lanka in collaboration with Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and the Ministry of Tourism hosted the event, also in order to celebrate the World Food Day, which is celebrated all across the globe, on the 16th of October.
The event started with the welcome speech of Ambassador of Italy to Sri Lanka and Maldives Rita Giuliana Mannella. ‘’I would like to express my sincere thanks to chef Rubio, and also the Minister of Tourism Development, Wildlife & Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga and also his ministry, who Co-sponsored this initiative. We are really proud of this event and we believe it’s an interesting way to share our experience ‘’.
Along with Chef Rubio’s participation, the aim of the Embassy of Italy in Colombo was to draw attention to the advantages of this kind of diet which was “discovered” in the “70s by an American scientist, Ancel Keys, who noticed a very low incidence of coronary disease among the inhabitants of some Italian and Greek towns and put forward the hypothesis that this was due to the type of diet that is representative of this geographical area. Following this observation, the famous research “Seven Countries Study” began, based on the comparison of dietary regimes of 12,000 people, aged between 40 and 59, in seven countries (Finland, Japan, Greece, Italy, Holland, United States and Yugoslavia). Research has since shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet has proved to be a fundamental factor in lowering the risk of non-communicable diseases as part of a healthy lifestyle.
During his speech, Hon. Minister of Tourism Development, Wildlife & Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga said that in the good old days, that we had many tourists coming from Italy, France, UK, Germany as they were among our top markets for the destination. He further mentioned that the Hotel School with competent staff is all geared up to train young people in order to meet the requirements of the tourists.
The event consisted of an interesting panel discussion among the guest invitees, who discussed about the health benefits, hygiene and the necessity of following a light diet and eating healthy food, followed by a Q&A session. The Panel discussion was attended by Chef Rubio, Chef Gerard Mendis, president, Chef’s Guild of Sri Lanka, Dr. Renuka Jayatissa from the Ministry of Health, Mr. Nishantha Kulathunga, Senior Lecturer, Culinary, Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM), which was moderated by Mr. Kumar Mirchandani. A large number of participants along with media attended the event and it had an interesting vibe especially with the lively and active feedback from the celebrity Italian chef. He expressed how exited he is to be in Sri Lanka and explore the wide diversity of Sri Lankan cuisine. He also visited Anuradhapura and joined a local family in their cooking and videoed a short film on the occasion. The video was shown on large screen which was shown to the audience. This was a result of the world Premiere screening of the ‘’Recipes 4 change ‘’a project funded by IFAD, the UN Bank in charge of the promotion of rural development.
During his interview with Mr.Kumar Mirchandani , the guest moderator, Chef Rubio said , ‘’ I was amazed to see so much love , passion , and the humbleness of the rural family with whom I associated. It’s really interesting to know people who know and feel how hard it is to work in the field and how beautiful is to have a great bond between each other.’’ He also mentioned about the new Sinhala words which he found very interesting. Later on a souvenir was presented to him by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, which was handed over by Ms. Charmarie Maelge , Managing Director , Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) and also a recipe book on Sri Lankan cuisine , presented to him by Mr. Dilip De Silva , Chairman , Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management . (SLITHM).
As a highly acclaimed celebrity Chef Rubio has a substantial social media base on all kinds of media platforms. He has a circle of 700,000,000 followers on Facebook, Instagram and other social media. Usually he receives 10,000 – 20,000 likes for his posts on publishing. He has won several accolades for his culinary expertise work which makes him one of the most popular Italian celebrities on the web. The awards include ‘’The Best Chef ‘’ at the Macchianera Italian Awards 2014, The ‘’Tweet Award ‘’ in Bologna 2014, as the ‘most popular Chef’ of the Italian Twitter food community, Winner of the ‘Italia a Tavola’ contest, prize given to the Chef who better represent the Italian cuisine, 2016 and the International Taste DiVino Award ,2016.