The Birth of “Okra Kitchen”
The footsteps that led to the now-thriving culinary concept ‘Okra’ were first imprinted in the 1980’s when W.A. Ravindrapala and Sepali Perera ventured on an adventure that was exciting, yet unfamiliar. And so began the start of a family-oriented venture, dedicated to bringing people together over delicious homemade fare. And even though they lacked a certain business know-how at first, the love for all avenues of culinary soon made them popular amongst the social circles of Colombo.
Ravi and Sepali’s initial catering service expanded, adding rice and curry and other Sri Lankan-style party foods to its repertoire. The clients were not only impressed by their food, but also the efficient service, which landed compliments to Ravi and Sepali’s honest and transparent work ethic. Hard work, passion, perseverance and many sacrifices saw the couple’s gastronomic vocation grow to include a larger staff and broader menu. This positive couple never hesitated to utilize the constructive criticism and customer feedback to gradually better their trade.
Today, Ravi and Sepali’s brainchild is re-branded under the name ‘Okra Kitchen’ and is managed by one of their three chef-sons, Danendra. Okra opened its premiere outlet at the Food Studio (Colombo City Centre) in 2019 offering unmatched authentic Sri Lankan cuisines. The high demand for their food soon led them to expand their brand by opening another outlet in Dehiwala (237 A, Hills Street). Okra Kitchen reflects the home-cooked philosophy of Ravi and Sepali’s original catering venture and uses no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives in their food. The ingredients are 100% natural and organic, sourced locally and the delectable assortment of dishes are all made from scratch, including the unique “Okra curry powder” used in all their curries. The close-knit family plans to share their flair for food with the island and the rest of the world is underway with many exciting developments in the future.
Chairman of ‘OKRA’ heading OKRA Kitchen by Ravi & Sepali and 3 Bags Full, Chef Danendra’s expertise in cuisine was cultivated during his time mastering curated gastronomy under the guidance of internationally acclaimed chefs in Dubai, Singapore, Switzerland, Germany, and the Maldives.
He is also a qualified professional of the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management, with specialized training in Pastry & Bakery. It was during his time at the 5-Start property, Radisson Blu, in Dubai, that Danendra won Best Pastry Chef at La Cuisine du SIAL (2012). He later, went on to win the same accolade at Emirates’ Salon Culinaire in 2013. Danendra was also named the ‘Best Dress Cake Winner’ at the Burjuman Young Chef of the Year Competition 2012 and was the winner of the Nestle Golden Chef Hat competition in 2013. In the same year, Danendra received the silver medal in Taste of New Zealand and has since then adjudged international culinary challenges for ‘Food and Hospitality Asia Maldives’ across the region.
After his tenure in the Middle East, the upcoming chef returned to Sri Lanka & clinched the Nestle Young Chef on the Year award & was invited to join the Nestle Group in Sri Lanka as the Advisory Chef of Nestle Professional. Today, Danendra is an Executive Committee Member of Chefs Guild Sri Lanka & a senior member of the Emirates Culinary Guild. He is also a coveted member of the Ceylon Hotel School Graduates Association.