Mr. December 2016 Josh Dissanayake
When Josh Dissanayake had his photo taken for the 2016 Sexy Men of YEG Food calendar he did so as a chef at North 53. Since then he has gone to the Woodrack Cafe and now is at the Three Boars eatery. So the first question this month was – why all the moving around? “I needed a change.” Says Josh. He left the long evening shifts for shorter day time work at the Woodrack in order to spend more time with his daughter. He then realized his friends all had the opposite shift to what he did. The early shifts also meant he couldn’t help out as much at his daughter’s school where he has done everything from making snacks to helping out on field trips. So after meeting with chef Brayden Kozak of Three Boars it was back to the late shift (and school field trips.)
Josh is Mr. December 2016 and here’s how he answered our questions.
1. Why participate in the YEG Sexy calendar for Edmonton’s Food Bank?
Josh was recruited for the calendar by former YEG Sexy calendar guys Nevin Fenske and Phil Wilson, who both said he should apply. He thought it was for a good cause so the rest is history.
2. How much did you know about the Food Bank before doing the calendar?
He admits to not knowing much other than the basics but he has volunteered for Hope Mission, the Mustard Seed and the Boys and Girls clubs all of which are partner agencies with Edmonton’s Food Bank.
3. Where was the calendar picture taken?
The picture was taken at North 53 and it was the first time he met YEG Sexy’s Owen and Bri so he was nervous but they soon had him relaxed. His daughter was along that day too and Josh says she was quite sure what to make of the whole thing. And the apron he is wearing was brand new and just picked up from his friends at Clo’s Leather in the Mercer Building
4. What is the best thing about being in the food business?
“The relationships” says Josh “It’s a passion.” The people are unique, love what they do and the chaos that surrounds the kitchen.
5. What is something that might surprise people about you?
He has a motto: “look good, feel good, cook good” Josh says people can taste it in the food if you are having a bad day.
6. How did you get into the business?
Josh has been cooking since he was thirteen and went into NAIT’s culinary school straight out of high school, he then went straight into getting his Red Seal which is recognized internationally. It was a surprising career choice since he comes from a family of nurses. Even though he learned cooking from his parents they didn’t really see it as a career. “Why works so hard to not get as much” he remembers them saying. It was only once they saw his dedication to the craft that they understood and helped him get his Red Seal certification.
7. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
It is the same advice he’d pass along to novice cooks “Treat food with respect. It’s what sustains us.” He also stresses the importance of knowing where our food comes from and how it is grown.
8. What is your earliest cooking memory?
As a kid, Josh remembers watching his parents dance while cooking. A wonderful memory of togetherness that he hopes to pass along to his daughter.
9. What are your favourite things about Edmonton? And why those things?
- Telus World of Science and basically any place he goes with his daughter “Which is most of the places I go.”
- He loves movies of all kinds and admits to being caught tearing up at cartoons.
- The food scene that is growning and has people branching out and trying new things.
- Edmonton itself. “You can walk every where and it feels like home.”
Watch for Josh’s famous family inspired Pork Buns on the Three Boars menu.