Chef Robert Oliver Fuses Pasifika Flavours
A New Zealander who was raised in Fiji and Samoa, celebrity chef Robert Oliver has developed restaurants in New York, Miami, Las Vegas and Sydney. His new Auckland restaurant, Kai Pasifika has just opened.
He is the author of the Me’a Kai book: The Food and Flavours of the South Pacific, which shocked the food world when it won the Best Cookbook in the World 2010 at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Paris. In 2013, his second book Mea’ai Samoa: Recipes and Stories from the Heart of Polynesia won the Best TV Chef Cookbook in the World 2013 at the same awards in Beijing.
Despite his major success, he keeps a close connection to his Pacific upbringing. The menu of Oliver’s new gourmet restaurant Kai Pasifika is inspired by cuisine from Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, Tonga, Tahiti and Cook Islands.
“We chose Auckland for a few reasons. One, it is really the urban centre for the Pacific, being part of Polynesia itself and with so many Pacific Islanders living here. And New Zealand is a Pacific nation,” Oliver says.
“The Pasifika community here is an important cultural expression of this city’s identity, and you see it in fashion, music, the arts; the Pacific community is on top in all that. So I was sure the food would be a hit.”
Original article by Matilda Simmons, The Fiji Times, May 21, 2017.
Photo by Random House.