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New to the Parish: Chef and entrepreneur Athula Kuruppu Arachchi arrived from Sri Lanka in 2005


Athula Kuruppu Arachchi’s grandmother taught him to cook. As a child, he’d often watch in fascination as she bustled around the family kitchen mixing ingredients from the garden in a rough, clay bowl. “That was how she made the curries. We had tamarind, garlic, curry leaves, chillies and other varieties of vegetables. From season to season the vegetables change. We had egg plants you could keep for a year and then papaya and mango trees. Everything was in our own garden.”

Despite the family’s abundant supply of fresh fruit and vegetables, growing up in Sri Lanka in the 1980s was not easy. In 1983, conflict broke between the Tamil Tiger rebel group and the Sri Lankan government, leading to widespread violence across the country. The subsequent 26-year long civil war resulted in an estimated 40,000 deaths.