This is our Resident Chef, Nimal.
He is a wizard.
Nimal comes from a village in Kurunegala, Sri Lanka. Kurunegala is 5,446km from Beirut and is famous for its temples and architectural sites.
Nimal has lived here in Beirut for almost half his life. He was 21 when he came to Lebanon in 1995, to work as a housekeeper. His first ever job was in a Lebanese home in Achrafieh, where he had to clean and cook for the family.
“I cooked a little in Sri Lanka. Nobody taught me, I just learned myself. When I worked in the home, I saw how to do it and I learned the Lebanese dishes one by one. When you cook, I watch. And I ask you if I can try, and then I do it again and again.”
In 2012 when he started working at Beyt guesthouse, the team quickly realised his talents went far beyond mopping and washing up. On Monday Nimal cooked Sri Lankan dinner for 76 guests, without even breaking a sweat.
Though he cooks a mean Sri Lankan curry, Nimal’s favourite cuisine is Lebanese food – which might explain why he cooks it so well. “I like kibbeh, and tabbouleh. Actually I like Lebanese food better than Sri Lankan food. I don’t eat too many sweets, but I like fruit, every fruit. My favourite is apricot.”
Aside from being an amazing cook, Nimal is also very positive about everything. What does he dislike about Beirut? Nothing. “Everything is good,” he says. “It’s a good life. I like the work and the people. I like the mountain villages. And the weather: the winter and summer. Beirut is cooler than Sri Lanka.”
What are Nimal’s hopes for our new restaurant? “I am not sure yet… I can’t tell you what I’d like… I’ll tell you on Thursday.”
So, until Thursday, Nimal…