When the chefs from around the Pacific got together at the Fiji National University in Nadi today for the AgriTourism week, one thing was certain; they went back to school with Master Chef Colin Chung.
Chung is a TV personality and a first master class of Pacific cuisine. His knowledge of Pacific dishes surpasses all, and he talks with great ease and authority, yet inspiring and friendly. The chefs love to sit in his class, even for long hours without a faintest snooze.
“Nothing should come from over 100 miles of your kitchen,” let alone far-away countries. He said with such conviction.
“Visitors don’t want to see a country; they want to eat the country. So where are the local food in your kitchen? People travel to us-we import over $80 million of food – we put money back into the country where they come from.”
“How about support agriculture and famers by making use of their products?”
“Tourists eat contemporary food, while Island tells you it’s tradition. As with Western, they got to be made to their taste and style.”
Chefs please step up
“Someone in the big hotel can make a huge difference with local foods. And you have to be developing and creating”
“You, as a chef, must dictate the farmers by your preference and quantity. By this, I mean a chef can tell a farmer how much of supplies he wishes to have of anything”. He said a farmer would never refuse a chef’s wish because he knows well the chef would go to the next farmer for the same.
Someone in the big hotel can make a huge change with local foods.
Be a pioneer
“You want to be a pioneer, you got to be good in what you do. Chefs have the responsibility to deliver contemporary island cuisine – using the best local produce available to innovate and create prime island-style dishes to become the new contemporary taste of the island.”
There should be no excuse about seasons, you just got to understand the food in season and make the best out it: Even seafood has seasons.
Make contacts with farmers, go to the local market, talk to someone who had use it.
“Be innovative, very innovative, and do not be limited by what you know”, says the master of Pacific cuisines.
Master Chef Colin Chung wants to see 75-80% of island cuisine in Pacific Hotels.
Blogpost by Lopez Marac Adams, Social Reporter for the Pacific Community AgriTourism Week 2015.