Chefs For Development: The Role of Chefs in Linking Agriculture to Tourism in the South Pacific
By Robert Oliver and Dr Tracy Berno. CTA, 2016.
The coastal and inland fisheries, tropical climate and fertile soils of South Pacific nations support the production of fresh ingredients that are healthy, nutritious and vitamin rich. Although traditional Pacific cuisine based on these fresh local ingredients is alive and well in the homes of Pacific Islanders, much of the food served in the tourism industry is imported and fails to deliver an authentic South Pacific cuisine experience to visitors. Many Pacific tourism menus are based on Western-style dishes which require the importation of significant amounts of food from overseas (estimated to comprise up to 80-90% of food consumed in some tourism operations for example). Some menus do offer ‘Pacific food’. For the most part this cuisine is often inauthentic and reflects what has come to be expected as Pacific Island ‘tourism food’ at themed island-night events, and is more often than not a mere parody of traditional foods. This is a lost opportunity for both the countries of the South Pacific and the visitors they host.