Swapping the hustle and bustle of London for Scotland around three years ago, Rose De Silva never envisioned she’d be launching her own food business in the small village of Springfield, near Cupar just a few years later.
The Sri Lankan native moved to London when she was just 17 with her now husband and has since travelled north after realising she wanted to swap time spent at work for time spent with her three children.
What started as Rose being a generous neighbour and handing out meals to those in the local community during lockdown, has now spiralled into her first food business, Ceylonese Bruich.
Sharing her passion for Sri Lankan food, Rose started offering restaurant-quality meals to her “food lovers” after launching her business on Facebook last November.
It wasn’t until March 2021 that she says she started seeing the outfit as a full-on business.
“It grew from a few to 10, to 20, then 30, up until we hit 60 customers a week.
“I love entertaining and cooking and so my friends would come for dinner all the time. When lockdown happened I started cooking and packaging my food and delivering it to friends and neighbours. They said they couldn’t accept free food from me all the time and said I needed to start charging.
“I started a Facebook Page so I could upload the menus. A chef started sharing my menus and I started getting loads of calls and orders and I was fully booked in no time.”
Sri Lankan cuisine
Keen to showcase Sri Lankan food to the masses, the 42-year-old says it is a cuisine Scots aren’t overly familiar with locally.
And with many cultures and religions associated with the country including Hindu, Muslim and Malaysian influence, the food is eclectic and of huge variety.
“Our food is very unique and you can’t compare Indian food to Sri Lankan food – it is completely different.
“In Scotland, there’s no real platform for Sri Lankan food. No one knows much about it or really understands it.
“The flavours of Sri Lanka are so unique in terms of how spices are used. For example, the cinnamon we use is Ceylon cinnamon, known as “true cinnamon”, and it looks like a long cigar. The flavour of it and how we use it in a herbal way and as a spice is very different. When you fry, roast or boil a spice, the flavours and benefits of it are completely different.
“I make all of my spices at home, and the ingredients come from a small family farm in Sri Lanka. When you understand the true spices and not the commercially produced ones you see on shelves, that’s when you get real flavour.
“Cardamom, for example, is usually spray painted with a light green hue. If you see mine at home it looks very different and has a different flavour.”
Equipped with her Level 2 Food Hygiene certificate and registered with the council, Rose says her food experience isn’t like takeaway food, and showcases traditional home cooked dishes made to a high quality.
She added: “We grind the spices down and make everything from scratch. Anything that is cooked, is cooked in spices.
“Hoppers is unique to Sri Lanka. It is the number one dish and is like a rice bowl. You can add anything in it – it normally comes with a boiled or fried egg, with two sides of sambal.
“Kottu is a Sri Lankan street food where a really thin sheet of flour is made like a roti. You have lots of eggs, meat and chicken in it.
“I cater to more of the authentic side of our home cooked food. I do a beef chukka which is slow cooked and is peppered. It tastes beautiful. And I also do a pot roast chicken which is cooked in the traditional way with an onion relish.”
Labour of love
Taking four to five hours to make the meals, which can be up to 50 orders on both Fridays and Saturdays, the cooking process is a ritual, with it beginning with a prayer.
“Cooking is a ceremony. It is a prayer, it is love,” said Rose.
“I love to marry Scottish produce with Sri Lankan spices. All of our root and leaf vegetables come from the local area, as does the meat and the eggs.
“I start cooking at around 11am on the Friday and I pray before I do so, after I’ve cleaned.
“One of the most difficult things I have found is getting people to try it. It is a little more exotic and people like what they are familiar with. Sri Lankan food is still very new to a lot of people in Scotland.”
Customers can place an order by calling 07776194227 or messaging the Facebook page.
The menu is shared on Facebook on Tuesday evenings and pre-orders close on Thursdays.
Prices vary from £25.99 to £29.99 per person depending on the ingredients and sides. Ceylonese Bruich delivers to St Andrews and a few local villages for a small fee.