Ministering To Diners with the True Spirit of Crustacean Celebration 0 1705

By Michelle Alles

We at BizNomics Magazine naturally chose this distinguished brand known as the Ministry of Crab to grace the cover story of our first issue and I am deeply honoured to be the one telling it:

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When two cricketers and a chef came together to bring a culinary homecoming of Sri Lanka’s legendary lagoon crab to the local populace, they didn’t quite expect such magic to happen. Dharshan Munidasa, with his Sri Lankan-Japanese heritage and eternal drive to serve his guests with dishes made from the freshest and finest ingredients, began a journey that would have patrons clamouring to taste his iconic menu, overseas destinations welcoming MoC on their shores, and the brand even being one of his two restaurants to consistently make the prestigious list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.

When the Ministry of Crab was born, the year was 2011 and it was a time that development was moving at a very accelerated pace in Sri Lanka. The rejuvenation of the 400 year old Dutch Hospital also played a very favourable role in the plan, the site being symbolic of Sri Lanka’s progress at the time, so the pieces knitted together perfectly to form an ideal location that guests could enjoy. Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene came on board to co-own and become ‘Ministers’ in this celebrated venture and the phone began to ring off the hook for reservations as word of the mouth-watering dishes spread around Colombo.

Dharshan, a self-taught culinary expert who prides himself on the fact that he never studied culinary arts, is no stranger to the culinary field. His restaurants, Nihonbashi, Kaema Sutra, and The Tuna & The Crab are already sought after eateries by many. For a chef who works so much with crabs, his personality is anything but crabby and he does a fantastic job of expertly balancing his schedule between all three restaurants. In his well-modulated and mellifluous voice, he credits his staff at all his restaurants who work tirelessly to bring about the success of all the restaurant brands. He is one of the rare few who truly gives credit where its due, thanking his staff by name at the grand celebration held last year to mark the Ministry of Crab and Nihonbashi being ranked in the Asia’ 50 Best Restaurants.

Kumar Sangakkara, a veteran cricketer and former Sri Lankan national captain and Mahela Jayawardene, a batting wizard and former Sri Lankan national captain, need absolutely no introduction to our readers. The two of them remain just as focused in their work ethics as they did in their cricketing careers which elevated them to the heights of fame. They have always concentrated on working with like-minded people with similar ambitions and goals, and it was no surprise that they were more than happy to be a part of the ‘Ministry’, which is an excellent blend of partnership and friendship.

Behind Dharshan’s pleasant and quiet demeanour, there lies a steely determination which has brought him thus far and made him the iconic figure he is today. This, when united with the perseverance and drive of Kumar and Mahela, made no better combination to embark on a journey that would take them to heights few can achieve. The Ministry of Crab is a celebration of Sri Lanka’s finest seafood, from the succulent King Prawns found in the rivers running across the island to fresh Clams and Oysters from the lagoons. The restaurant has been an been an essential part of Dharshan’s journey and this venture alone has gone further and is so unique that many dining cultures worldwide find it interesting and financially viable to invest in.

Ministering To Diners with the True Spirit of Crustacean Celebration

Dharshan is one of the rare souls who value the rich supply of natural resources that Sri Lanka possesses. Coming from a country like Japan that uses every available inch of space, he was fascinated with the large garden at his home and visiting the parks in Colombo, those of which were rare back in Tokyo. Outdoors, animals, fishing and other activities suddenly became more accessible and a part of him. The strong, individualistic Scorpio grew up respecting two food cultures and believing that fusion cuisine was not the best representation of what food really is. Never expecting to come this far in his chosen field, Dharshan’s journey began as a university student when he started cooking for himself as he didn’t like the cafeteria food served on campus.

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After the success of Nihonbashi, it became quite clear that Dharshan had given tuna an exciting place on the plates of Colombo’s diners and it was not long before he decided that crab should follow. Mahela and Kumar, fondly known as ‘Sanga’ to all, told us that the idea for the restaurant was initially spoken about over a glass of wine at a meal and the journey since then has been incredible. Not without its challenges, as can be expected of anything new, the three ‘Ministers’ lived up to their characters, all three of them having learned much and come a long way in their individual journeys, and overcame all odds to create a must-visit restaurant in Sri Lanka and reap the sweet harvest of success.

“I believe in good ingredients making good food. The best representation of food is respect for ingredients, respect for handling them and putting the least amount of work into them to produce an amazing dish. We make food not as a meal, but as joy, as a passion. The secret of making delicious cuisine is simple: amazing ingredients, nothing else. Finding the best ingredients are not always easy, but the meal that they make is always worth it. Stating our individuality and delivering the best product can be challenging, but the end result is what puts Sri Lanka on the map as a culinary destination and keeps the world knocking at our doors,” revealed Dharshan.

Kumar noted that the journey of MoC has been a very exciting one “Sri Lanka is a beautiful island nation, which is reflected in the seafood available to us. Our oceans, unlike those in many Southeast Asian countries, are clean and this is why our seafood is simply amazing. For all of us, it’s been a very interesting journey and for me, this is the realisation of my dream to be part of a culinary experience and I couldn’t have chosen two more excellent partners to travel this road with,” he said.

“Sanga and I love our food and have always been regulars at Dharshan’s restaurants, so when this concept came about, it seemed like an interesting venture and a no-brainer for us to come on board. We are truly proud of MoC’s success and growth. You need to enjoy what you do and that’s exactly what we’re doing. We are in the process of expansion and we are excited to see where it will take us. It’s a journey that we’re relishing and the finish line is nowhere in sight,” said Mahela.

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It has been a busy year for Dharshan with popup restaurants and meetings in various countries and brain storming with his staff and teams. There are seven restaurants to open in the next few months so there are even busier times ahead. Despite all that, he has found time to tuck a new venture under his belt, which has helped him realise how much he enjoys planning and designing.

The ‘Next Innings’ for these three gentlemen are not far behind. We look forward to the opening of this venture and will bring you details as events unfold.

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Make timely moves to stay competitive 0 208

By Dr. Kishu Gomes
Prominent business leader, Corporate Icon & Management Consultant, Kishu
Gomes was the Chief of Sri Lanka Tourism (SLTDA & SLTPB) after leading a
multinational operation in Sri Lanka for over 2 decades. He continues to consult
businesses and corporates to take a transformational journey.

Many things cause organizational change. Covid19 is one big example only. Other than
pandemics or epidemics, economic downturns, tougher trading conditions, finance cost
escalation, technological changes, competitive pressures, including mergers and
acquisitions, customer pressure, particularly shifting markets, government legislation or
regulatory changes etc.
All organizations are in flux: changing their focuses, expanding or contracting their activities, and rethinking their products and services. Most organizations more than ten years old look nothing like they did even five years ago. Pre and post-COVID 19 are two different worlds altogether. And it is likely that in the next year or two organizations will not look as they do today.

In this context, managers have to be able to introduce and manage change to ensure
the organizational objectives of change are met, and they have to ensure that they gain
the commitment of their people, both during and after implementation. Often, at the
same time, they also have to ensure that business continues as usual.
Resistance to change may be active or passive, overt or covert, individual or organized,
aggressive or timid, and on occasions totally justified. Organizational change
management takes into consideration both the processes and tools that managers use
to make changes at an organizational level. Most organizations want change
implemented with the least resistance and with the most buy-in as possible. For
this to occur, change must be applied with a structured approach so that
transition from one type of behavior to another will be smooth.

As the speed of change continues to increase, change management is a fundamental competency needed by managers, supervisors, Human Resources staff, and organization leaders. To tap your wisdom, my recent survey about change management afforded me the opportunity to consolidate hundreds of years of experience in change management. Here, in your… Change is possible; the need for change is increasing; change capability is necessary for organizations that will succeed in the future. Change management challenges organizations to succeed during times of great change. Employees love to stay in their comfort zone because it is familiar and they know what their expectations are. Many employees fear change and the manager has the responsibility to help employees move through the change process. Managers need to develop themselves as a role model for change and create an environment where all of their employees will get aboard and be willing to make the changes that are needed. It takes a smart and intuitive manager to manage change in any business organization. In order for a manager to effectively manage change in the business setting, they need to develop an understanding of how employees react to change. Every employee will have a different view of change and what their reaction to change will be. It is important that the manager stays visible and is always willing to jump in and help the employees manage change. In order to be an effective manager of change, the employees must continue to feel valued and respected by their manager. If a manager helps the employees through the process of learning to let go of the old way of doing things, they can help the employee adjust to the new changes in their working environment.

Deal with resistance
When a manager is facilitating change in the business world, they need to be
aware and acknowledge that resistance to change is normal and common.

Smart managers will recognize that resistance to change can actually be viewed as a positive sign that the employees are involved with the changes that are occurring in their working environment. If employees do not believe in their managers and lack trust in their decisions or there have been explanations of the reasons for change and how it will benefit the employees, that manager will have difficulty managing any changes that need to be implemented.
Another effective tool for a manager to use to implement change in the business setting
is to involve the employees in the decisions that are being made to change their working
environment. This is a method to help the employees feel valued and more motivated
to go along with the implementation of the changes. This becomes a win-win situation
for the organization, the manager, and all of the employees. Managers that involve their
employees and let them become part of the change will have an easier road for
acceptance from the employees.

Communication is the manager’s best friend. This is how the manager prepares the employees for the changes and can clearly clarify the expectations and expected outcomes. The manager is the individual that clearly can communicate the rationale for the change and answer the employee’s questions and stress the importance for the change to occur. Managers need to remain positive and upbeat and show the employees they are energized to make the changes happen. There are always some risks when changes are being initiated. The manager needs to be ready for the potential negative effects of any changes and have a plan to handle them. If mistakes occur along the way, then this is the opportunity for the manager and their employees to learn from the mistakes and move forward. Organizations that have a talented and effective manager will be able to handle the changes that need to occur to keep them competitive in their industry.

Sri Lanka Strawberries 0 796

Strawberries in Sri Lanka-BiZnomics-Business

By: Savannah Audrey

Source: Jagrofresh website.

The Agricultural Research Institute has described strawberries as a fruit that is difficult to grow, as it needs to be continually monitored for protection from diseases.

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Although the main planting season for strawberries begins in September, the nursery preparation process begins well ahead with the planting of mother stock. Tended with the utmost care, a few weeks after planting these mother plants start shooting runners, which are then cut and potted in preparation for bed planting.

 

 

Greenhouse construction includes the careful laying of gradients for proper drainage, much for proper weed/pest cover and dipper systems for fertigation – a few of the myriad aspects covered meticulously in this phase. Land and bed preparation, as we call the preparation of the lay of the soil and land, is an arduous task requiring much precision and once the beds and irrigation systems are ready, planting begins in earnest. Each potted plant is carefully removed and planted in neatly aligned beds, angled just right to absorb as many nutrients as are required for the months of work ahead.

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From this point on, care is a mix of diligent tending of the plant, weeding and providing the optimum support, in the form of bees for pollination, plant analyses for ensuring the maximum possible nutrients are absorbed, and warding off of pests.

 

strawberry-BiZnomics-Business-4Harvesting of strawberries starts two months after planting, when fruit is at its biggest, tastiest and juiciest. The first fruit from each plant is always the biggest and often the most off-shaped, although extremely tasty! From this point on, harvesting takes place daily, although quantities and sizes vary based on the plant life-cycle and the stage of planting in the staggered planting system.

Cont..

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