New Tokatoka Resort Executive Chef Cooks With Great Passion
Misiwata Namali has been appointed as the new Executive Chef/Food and Beverages Manager for the Tokatoka Resort in Nadi.
He joined the Warwick Group property a fortnight ago and has brought with him over 15 years of experience.
He has worked at Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort, the Holiday Inn Suva, and Tanoa Plaza as head chef.
He served as a Sous chef at the Pearl South Pacific Resort and was promoted to Executive Sous Chef.
He moved to Papua New Guinea, and worked at Madang Resort as the Executive Chef before he returned to the Warwick Fiji Resort and Spa as the Executive Sous Chef.
Mr Namali also worked as the Executive Sous Chef at the Warwick Le Lagoon in Vanuatu and at the Plantation Island Resort.
His career started back in 1999 as a buffet runner for Lagoon Restaurant at the Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort. This was made possible by his aunt, Siteri Nasia, who worked as a pastry chef at the time, and invited him on for holiday job.
“It was during his holiday job in 1999 which was supposed to be a part time thing. I fell in love and got the passion for the culinary world,” he said.
Edited by Jonathan Bryce
Originally from Navuevu, in the province of Nadroga Navosa. He has a Trade Certificate in Cookery III from the Fiji National University.
Types of cuisine he is capable of producing: “I do all from international – from Mediterranean, Mexican, Asian, a bit of all-rounder. What we cook today is a fusion of local ingredient cooked with the latest technique and plated with precision with the flavour that does explode in your mouth.”
Favourite cuisine: “I love to cook local cuisine. The infusion of fresh local produce and quality imported meats. That way I am sure the standard is maintained and consistency is a must, if are we to compete in this latest food trend.”
Favourite wine: “I love Shiraz”
About pairing wine and food: “It is old school to pair red wine like Shiraz or cab sav with red meat and have white wine like chardonnay or sauvignon blanc with white meat like chicken and fish.”
Noticing trends regarding its pairings: “It is this new menu that we are focusing on that really takes us outside of the box.”
Perfect meal for the mind and soul: “Any meal cooked with passion!”
If you were asked to reduce fat and sodium in a menu, what would you do to maintain flavour in the quality of the dish: “Infuse local fresh produce into the dish to balance the dish.
“For example we have avocados in season right now that can well complement a protein – local lettuce, coriander and avocado salad with a squeeze of local bush lemon seasoned with salt pepper and you have healthy dish.”
What do you do to stay current on new trends?
“Describe two or three of the most interesting industry trends. “Get out of your comfort zone and grow more passion.”
How do you test the quality of your ingredients?
“Most of our vegetables and fruits are locally grown here at our Tokatoka farm. For our new menu our red meats we will be looking to source quality overseas meat to ensure our standard and consistency is not compromised.
Your knowledge of food safety:
“I do have certificate in HACCP implementation and Monitoring”
If you were told that your food cost was high, what five things would you look at first:
Look at all possible loophole in your food operation from receiving dock to plating.
- portion control
- reduce overseas products
- relook into sourcing new quotes (look for better price but don’t compromise the quality)
- re-cost menu
Future plans: “To prove perfection in the culinary field and grow and move up ranks in the Warwick Group.”
Advice to upcoming young chefs: “Be passionate about what you put on the plate and keep learning and growing. The sky is the limit.
Grilled Beef Tenderloin with braised local octopus, taro dumpling, butternut puree and rocket.
“This sort of dish that enables you to have with a Sauvignon blanc, because we are getting rid of heavy starchy sides like potatoes and replace it with local taro dumpling.
“Balance the acidity of the dish with butternut puree and rocket (eruca sativa vegetable) that opens up your taste buds to accept and compliment this red meat dish with a white wine.”
120g beef tenderloin,
100g local octopus,
150g cooked taro,
150g butternut pumpkin,
10g x rocket leafs (for garnish),
100ml pineapple juice,
100ml x red wine(any cheap wine would do- prefer shiraz),
6 cloves garlic,
30ml port beef jus (gravy),
10g black pepper
In a small sauce pan braise your octopus with pineapple juice, red wine, garlic and onion seasoned.
While the octopus is cooking, season beef tenderloin and cook on a char-grill
In a small sauce pan with fried quickly in a little hot fat the onion garlic
Cut the butternut into cubes and let the mixture turn golden brown before you put in a little vegetable stock and have it seasoned before you let it run through a food processor.
Mash your cooked taro and have it seasoned while you add in some chopped basil leaves and olive oil to bring out the flavour and the consistency of your dumpling.
Heat your port beef jus (gravy) in the pan to be ready for plating
Plate dishes when everything is cooked to your satisfaction (platting can be your own creation or your little adventure).