A new 20,000 sq.ft Vocational Training Centre, complete with a state of the art Culinary Training Unit, was declared open amidst applause and cheer by Dilhan C. Fernando, the son of Dilmah Founder Merrill J. Fernando, and the Managing Director of the World Association of Chefs Societies (Worldchefs), Ragnar Fridriksson on 4 July 2015 at the MJF Centre for Dignified Empowerment in Moratuwa. The first batch of enrollments were officiated on the 20th of October 2015, coinciding with World Chefs’ Day celebrations around the globe.
Dilmah has throughout the years been steeped in gastronomy and tea inspired cuisine; this has seen the company play a major role in the culinary industry, with events such as Real High Tea, Bocuse d’Or and Chefs and the Teamaker to name a few. These events have been graced by some of the most prominent and influential names which have propelled participants to greater heights in their careers. With the opening of the MJFCF Culinary Training School, it is now possible for students from marginalised communities to learn and train under the guidance of these chefs, and some of the best in the industry.
In-keeping with industry standards, MJF Charitable Foundation has equipped the culinary school with state-of-the-art facilities, and a specially designed countertop for wheelchairs is also available for those limited by physical disabilities. Approximately 100 culinary students are expected to graduate from the facility each year with the allocation of 3 months per training course. Training lessons will be conducted by MJFCFs own Training Instructors/Chefs supported by culinary training professionals and Worldchefs certified chefs from across the world. There is much hope for the young chefs-to-be at the Foundation as a new avenue has opened up, with promises of a better future.