Meet Sikhamani Felicia Sorensen, World Renown Chef


She is known as, "The Queen of Curries", and is the World's Preeminent Chef and Expert on Sri Lankan Cuisine, having received the Sri Lanka Presidential National Title of "Sikhamani" for her role as a culinary ambassador of the island nation. Sikhamani Felicia Sorensen is world renown for her curries, chutneys, and roasted spices. She has traveled  and met great fellow Chefs from Asia, Europe, and the Americas, and has won a number of awards including the prestigious Escoffier Award.

A great Chef, food writer, cookbook editor and author, columnist, and Sikhamani; were it not for a twist of fate, none of this might have happened. Felicia spent 30 years in Hong Kong and while working a part time job as receptionist at the Hilton, she found out that  the curry at the coffee shop was lousy. So she proceeded to investigate and went to the coffee shop to let the chef know. She began  to teach him how to cook authentic curries. The news media found out about it and before she knew it, she became a celebrity and her culinary career was off and running.

Felicia's passion for cooking was probably started at childhood in Sri Lanka. Her mom was a good cook and Felicia would help her set the table and eventually would pick up some of her cooking skills. Those skills were well utilized as she entered an industry pretty much dominated by men. When asked if it posed a problem entering a male dominated profession, Felicia quickly responded, "Not at all. There are some female chefs that will compete head on with their male counterpart, not ask questions, and pretty much do things on their own. I didn't take that approach and played strength through weakness. If I needed help lifting things that were too heavy, I would ask for help. I would freely ask for their advice and built a good working relationship with them. And it didn't hurt to call each of them 'darling'." Truth be told, she also had no problems inviting other chefs to tasting sessions, as she went on, "some chefs are shy and are not too keen on other chefs tasting their dishes. But I'm not one of them". Asked about her secret to success, Felicia replies, "Always believe that you can do it and that you will succeed even when some of the ingredients for success may be missing."

I had the pleasure of meeting Felicia Sorensen last Spring while visiting my sister in Arizona. She joined us for Paella, which I was making. When my sister gave me a little heads up on Felicia, I became nervous and thought, "oh my god, I'm cooking for an Iron Chef." All that quickly melted when I was introduced and she addressed me as 'darling'. The warmth of her personality and her genuine interest in what I was doing made me feel more like her peer than a novice. The Paella turned out wonderful  and  was given 5 stars. In her own words, Felicia critiqued me,
"Darling, I have traveled the world over and have had Paella in a number of the best restaurants and private residences. I can tell you this for certain, yours is the best Paella I have ever had. The rice was a perfection."
I am still riding on cloud 9 from that statement. It was such a pleasure spending an afternoon with Felicia and discussing a subject that is dear to both of us. I was honored to have had the opportunity to be her Chef, if only for one day.

2 comments:

  1. Oh! I'm so glad you met FELICIA - she is our STAR - what a personality and WHAT A GREAT CHEF! Just thinking of her cookbook - A TASTE OF PARADISE - makes me salivate! talking of books - come see some of mine on Amazon or CreateSpace, and if you enjoy them - please tell your friends! Best wishes - Saaskia Aark-Bennett - www.amazon.com/author/saaskia.aark-bennett
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCy77xRZlNwjg8DopTqwyngQ
    www.facebook.com/pages/Saaskia-Aark-Bennett/410564518994085

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  2. derek_murphy@mydesk.net.auMarch 13, 2014 at 1:50 AM

    I would like to get in touch with Felicia. I met her in Hong Kong and we are good friends. My wife and I am coming to Sri Lanka in April and would like to catch up. Can you help to put me in touch with her?
    Derek Murphy derek_murphy@mydesk.net.au

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