Under a starry Samoan sky on a cool tropical night, six teams came together in a friendly competition creating amazing cuisine from locally-sourced ingredients during the Pacific Week of Agriculture held in Apia, Samoa in early October. During the friendly cook off guests at the Orator Hotel were treated to wonderfully crafted food from three of Samoa’s established professional industry Chefs and three aspiring apprentices from the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC). Partnering with Samoan women in farming, the Chefs showcased their culinary skills to perfection by transforming local produce into mouthwatering cuisine worthy to be served in any gourmet restaurant.
Showcasing Pacific talent and local ingredients were a common theme throughout the evening, highlighting the important linkages between chefs and farmers producing nutritious food from fresh produce, bringing the Farm to Table concept to life.
Earlier in the day, bartenders from leading hotels in Samoa participated in a mocktail competition creating tasty beverages using local ingredients provided for them.
The two competitions were side events for the Pacific Week of Agriculture aimed at creating agritourism opportunities both in local economies and regional supply and raising the profile of healthy and nutritious food that can be incorporated into daily menus and diets of Pacific families in order to promote healthier futures.
These events was supported by the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and implemented by the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) and the Samoa Tourism Authority (STA).
Some of the key issues that the competition looked to promote were the sharing of skills and knowledge through empowering chefs as well as sourcing quality local foods through the creation of valuable partnerships and influencing healthy lifestyles.
The competitions highlighted the links between agriculture and tourism, a sometimes overlooked yet extremely important sector. Women farmers in particular are often not acknowledged for their role in agriculture and the side event was aimed at also raising awareness of this as well as addressing Non-Communicable Diseases and the value of healthy nutritious food, gender empowerment, food security and responsible consumption and production.