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Sarath Fernando appointed CEO of SriLankan Catering

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Sarath Fernando has become the first Sri Lankan to be appointed Chief Executive Officer of SriLankan Catering, since the inception of the inflight catering arm of the SriLankan Airlines Group in 1979.

Mr. Fernando said, “My passion for food, being a professionally qualified chef and working as an Executive Chef for many years, will give me an opportunity to enhance the on-board culinary experience of the modern airline traveller.”

SriLankan Catering is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SriLankan Airlines, and is the only airline catering company in Sri Lanka, serving airlines at Bandaranaike International Airport. It is equipped with a state of the art flight kitchen for the production of food and beverages, and also operates restaurants at Bandaranaike International Airport.

SriLankan Catering is triple-certified to the standards of ISO 9001:2000, HACCP-Codex Alimentarius, and ISO 22000:2005, and is among the rare handful of inflight catering companies anywhere in the world to have three global certifications. The company has won several global and local accolades in recent times, including a Mercury Award from the International Flight Catering Association.

A proud product of Ananda College, Colombo, Mr. Fernando has extensive experience both in Sri Lanka and overseas. His more than three decades in the hospitality industry in Australia, the United States, Pacific Islands, India and Sri Lanka encompass all aspects of hotel management, including Sales & Marketing, Human Resources, Food & Beverage and Facility Management.

He joins SriLankan Catering after five very successful years at ‘Waters Edge’, where he was the Director / General Manager. Under his guidance, ‘Waters Edge’ won a total of 42 Gold Medals at the last two Culinary Art competitions held in 2005 and 2007, including the coveted title of ‘Most Outstanding Hotel Team’. He was an integral part of the launch team which established ‘Waters Edge’ as a renowned brand name in the hospitality industry, not only in Sri Lanka but also in other parts of the world.

He is a Fellow Member of the Ceylon Hotel School Graduates Association (CHSGA) and Member of the Institute of Hospitality (formally HCIMA). He holds the rare distinction of being both a Chef Rotisseur and Maitre Hotelier of the ‘Chaine des Rotisseurs’.

He is currently the President of the CHSGA for the second successive year and also a Board Member of the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management. He holds a degree in hotel and catering management as well as a specialised degree in professional cookery from the Ceylon Hotel School and specialised training in culinary art from the Culinary Institute of America, USA.

Mr. Fernando has held many senior positions from Executive Chef to F & B Director, Director of Catering, Operations Manager and that of General Manager. Having begun his career in the kitchens of Hotel Ceylon Intercontinental in 1976, he moved to The Triton Hotel, and the Taj Samudra, and on to India to work at the Taj Mahal Intercontinental in Mumbai and the Taj Mahal Hotel in New Delhi.

Moving to Australia in 1986 he started at the Hilton International in Sydney. Mr. Fernando held the position of General Manager Operations of the Telstra Dome in Melbourne, a 57,000 seat stadium with a staff of 1,200, after which he was offered the prestigious position of General Manager of the ‘Naval & Military Club’ in Melbourne which is known to be one of the oldest and prestigious city clubs in Australia with a 127 year old history, having a membership of 4,000 members, whose patron is Prince Philip. He has the rare distinction of being the first non-European to hold this position.

Mr. Fernando is known to win coveted awards at all properties he has been employed in - a rare distinction for a Sri Lankan in the F & B industry. During his tenure at the 5-star rated property ‘Pelican Beach International Resort’, he played a key role in winning the ‘Resort of the Year’ trophies in both 1987 and 1988 at the New South Wales Tourism Awards, together with the ‘Best Culinary Team’ at the North Coast Salon Culinaire - twice in a row in the same years.

Moving on to ‘Kooralbyn Hotel Resort’ as Executive Chef and F&B Director, he skillfully guided the organisation to win the award for Best Hotel Development Project in Australia. He has also won the Award of Distinction for Fine Dining in New South Wales and Best Restaurant in Queensland at the respective Tourism Awards whilst working there.

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