NOOSA Beach House recently hosted a special guest with a passion for cooking.
Diana Melonika hails from a town called Ponnanaruwa in north-central Sri Lanka and recently won Supreme Chef, a MasterChef-style competition.
An Australian Government initiative, Supreme Chef gave 500 home cooks from disadvantaged areas of Sri Lanka the chance to follow their food dream.
Noosa chef Peter Kuruvita was instrumental in the television series which granted the winner a residential training package at Noosa Beach House during May.
“Melonika had the most amazing time,” Kuruvita said.
“We have been teaching her how to be a chef in a modern environment but she has been teaching the chefs how to make a better curry.”
A mother of two young children, Melonika sacrificed being at home a lot to come on this journey which will change her life.
“I am very excited. I love to cook,” she said.
A bubbly and happy woman, Melonika said she loves cooking with fish and making cashew curry and she was grateful this learning experience.
“My dream is to open a restaurant.”
During her time in Noosa Melonika met celebrity chef Matt Preston during Noosa Food and Wine Festival. She also inspired a curry for Noosa Beach House’s curry lunches which began again last month.
“Her special was the chicken,” Kurivita said.
“It’s a beautiful dark and spicy curry.”
Melonika loved Noosa’s climate and of course the beach.
“I love the sea and there are good people,” she said.
Kurivita said the Supreme Chef experience was heart-warming.
“This will make a huge difference to her life,” he said.
“Back home she was earning equivalent to $340 Australian a month.”
“When she goes back to Sri Lanka we have found a job for her in a restaurant. It will make such a difference to her.”