Plantation Island Increases Use of Local Produce with Celebrity Chef

Resort General Manager Alex Wilson said the concept, “Soil to Plate”, was recently displayed to Raffe Hotels staff by celebrity chef Colin Chung.
25 Feb 2019 10:50
Plantation Island Increases Use of Local Produce with Celebrity Chef
Plantation Island resort.

Plantation Island Resort in the Mamanuca Group have devised a strategy to increase the percentage of local ingredients in their menu and buffet offerings.

And to maintain international quality at the same time.

Soil to Plate concept

Resort General Manager Alex Wilson said the concept, “Soil to Plate”, was recently displayed to Raffe Hotels staff by celebrity chef Colin Chung.

Mr Chung’s publications include Kana Vinaka-Contemporary Is­land Cuisine.

“Colin has spent the past week in the kitchen with the kitchen teams from the three Raffe Hotels proper­ties – Fiji Gateway Hotel, Planta­tion Island Resort and Lomani Is­land Resort,” Mr Wilson said.

“We understand the convenience of purchasing imported ingredi­ents such as tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes as these items meets certain standards and speci­fications.

“Colin has brought to the table of how one can use a multitude of local ingredients into flavorsome and simple local dishes as good as most international dishes.”

In doing so, Mr Wilson said this would give work and more income to local farmers.

Chef Colin Chung’s and Greg Cornwell contribution the resort

Mr Chung has brought passion and enthusiasm to the teams using creativity and simplicity plus the odd chef screams in getting things done right.

Mr Wilson said fellow industry legend Greg Cornwall, who accom­panied Mr Chung, spent the week coaching the middle management teams in Food & Beverage with the emphasis of bringing passion and detailing to the fore.

Mr Cornwall has run top tourism properties here and internation­ally, and played a major role in the University of the South Pacific Tourism programme.

He began his career in food and beverage.

Mr Wilson said: “It is very im­portant that we all play a part of helping our local farmers and supply chain providers by way of increasing the amount of local in­gredients in menus and other F&B offerings.

“There is a huge difference be­tween local and imported produce with the starting point being the freshness of the local ingredients – almost every local plant is grown organically intrinsically bearing a natural and organic taste.”

Mr Wilson said there was enough space and land to not only produce enough for local demands but in­ternationally as well.

“Fiji has great soil – but we limit our potentials by doing what is easiest like planting cassava be­cause after planting you maintain it every week or so.

“But this does not apply with to­matoes, cucumbers, berries, herbs and other items need which need 10 times more care and looking af­ter than cassava.

“If a farmer plants herbs and har­vest them sustainably frequently they will have an income weekly not every few months.

“A great approach would be to change high turnovers items such as herbs into a commercial enter­prise and not just a single farmer outcome.”

Substituting to local product

Mr Wilson said in many cases local produce were better than imported items but when it was organically grown it had a much shorter life span so the supply chain was important.

“Some imported items are bigger and better but not always when buying fresh from the soil.”

Mr Wilson said more should be done to encourage farmers to grow produce but doing it as a co-opera­tive would be better as it would be sustainable, meet the demands and volume driven and bankable.

“In Thailand, in Vietnam most or all ingredients that could be plant­ed within these countries people with land are encouraged to plant both subsistence and for selling. It affects the local economies by more affordability and domestic purchases – domestic trade.”

“Government must encourage lo­cal farming as agriculture is the future because much of the envi­ronment continues to be eroded or damaged and as such food becomes scares and prices increase.

“Following our recent guests cocktails it was well received and our guests fully endorsed that resorts and international hotel brands should promote local pro­duce.

“It is inappropriate to employ international farmers in buying their imported produce while our local farmers are unemployed and their land not supported by stake­holders.”


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