FIJI–A top Pacific chef coordinating a workshop promoting the use of local ingredients in local hotels hailed Solomon Islands seafood as amongst the best in the World.
Celebrity chef Colin Chung made the comment after completing the Farm to Table culinary workshop in the Solomon Islands in Munda from April 18-22.
Mr Chung has been fashioned by the unique blending of cultures in Hawaii, a passion for the food, produce and flavours of the Pacific, and island hospitality.
He also imparted his strong preference for the use of locally and naturally available products on the 38 participants in the Western Province leg of the workshop.
Kila Maike of Rekona Lodge in Gizo in Solomon Islands Western Province, regarded the country’s tourism mecca, said the Farm to Table Culinary workshop would boost their careers, expand their menu options and importantly,reduce costs with more use of local ingredients.
The trainees fully utilised the nearby Munda Market and local fishermen to source ingredients during the workshop.
Participants learnt and practised some of the best organic gastronomical menu options, traditional and modern food preparation methods to utilize best and abundant resources available locally and basic food ingredients.
In the second leg of the workshop 20 participants attended a second session of the training at Solomon Islands National University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Studiesin Honiara from April 25 – 29. This session was to accommodate representatives from hotels, caterers and lodges in Honiara, Savo & Guadalcanal.
They sourced their ingredients at the Honiara Market and nearby vegetable and crop farms.
SPTO Acting Manager Sustainable Tourism Development Filipe Tuisawau said this training was timely given the need to not only enhance the Solomon Islands tourism sector’s human resources capacity but also address increasing concerns about the value of local community linkages to tourism and economic benefits to local suppliers in the tourism value chain.”
“It will also be an opportunity for SPTO to further explore Agro Tourism initiatives on a local and regional level. We need to maximize local community benefits from the tourism sector.”
“This workshop addressesthe up skillingof local chefs in the hospitality industry and teaching them to be more resourceful whilst maintaining a healthy business environment,” he said.
Acting Chief Executive Officer Alisi Lutu said such workshops by the SPTO added value to supporting local tourism development in our Pacific Island member countries.
“Reliance on imports has increased costs and leakage for many Pacific Island tourism economies when the best alternative; local ingredients are fresh, readily available and cheaper.” Ensuring that consistent supply of our local foods and vegetables are maintained to meet the high demand by our tourism industries is an ongoing challenge across the Pacific which needs to be improved.
The training was a joint initiative between the Solomon Islands Ministry of Tourism, the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau (SIVB) and the South Pacific Tourism Organisation.