Sewale's big win for culinary art
The 28 year old from Nasea village in Macuata, Vanualevu has just completed her Certificate De Base and a New Zealand Qualification Certificate in French Cuisine Level 2 from Le Cordon Bleu (LCB), New Zealand, a prestigious hospitality education institution famous for providing the highest level of culinary and hospitality instruction throughout the world.
Losevati who started off at Nukubati Island Resort in Macuata is now training staff at Nadi’s renowned Fiji Orchid Resort. She says the completion of her 10 week study has made her more determined in training local staff.
“I was very nervous, when I was advised that I was the successful recipient of the scholarship, especially when I had never travelled out of Fiji but I was very determined to work hard,” Losevati said.
The General Manager for Le Cordon Bleu, Ms Jenny Jenkins says Losevati’s exposure at LCB gave her more confidence in her culinary skills.
“For these chefs that come and train in New Zealand, the climate, food and the culinary methods are quite different and we hope that we can advance the calibre of chefs Fiji is producing, Ms Jenkins said.
WWF-Pacific Sustainable Seafood Manager, Mr Francis Areki highlighted that the success of the programme has seen four chefs with the inclusion of Losevati from Fiji trained at Le Cordon Bleu which raises the platform of sustainable seafood within the hospitality sector.
“This part of the project works with specific stakeholders where WWF works with LCB by training chefs in utilizing local seafood and having some understanding around the concept of sustainable seafood sourcing.”
Mr Areki says seafood derived from fishing grounds which are practicing sustainable fisheries management are used to educate chefs and consumers to understand the idea.
“I think it has been positive, it’s a new area in which chefs of Fiji are slowly getting into. It’s a bit more advanced in some of the more developed countries where Chefs have a lot of say in what actually goes through their kitchens and what is served to their consumers,” he said.
The owner of Nukubati Island Resort and the Fiji Orchid Resort, Mrs Jenny Bourke is proud of Losevati’s achievement.
“Education at any level is a very powerful thing, it’s what brings about real changes and for Losevati, I have already seen the confidence and the motivation that she has gained after attending the training at LCB.”
Mrs Bourke says Fiji has more to offer in terms of sustainable fisheries and there is an important need to maximize the awareness of Fiji’s Seafood basket which is the Great Sea Reef (GSR).
“We’ve got the Great Sea Reef and it has never been used as leverage in Tourism in terms of marketing but secondly it’s an amazing asset that Fiji has and we hardly tap into it,” Mrs Bourke said.
Le Cordon Bleu Ambassador and renowned Pacific Chef, Robert Oliver who was present at Losevati’s award ceremony said empowering local chefs is an opportunity to encourage innovative culinary tourism. He added the link from the reef to the resort is similar to the movement from farms to hotels encouraging conscious consumers or organic tourists to appreciate projects that link local communities to the hotel menus.
WWF-Pacific’s Sustainable Seafood Officer, Qela Waqabitu says Losevati’s story is one of empowerment for Women in Fiji’s culinary sector.
“This is a good story of how a lady from a village setting is empowered by working at a locally owned resort, that itself is a big win in terms of empowering women in coastal communities to actively participate in sustainable seafood practice through her culinary skills,” Waqabitu said.
The Fiji Sustainable Seafood Project is an innovative partnership between WWF-New Zealand, WWF- Pacific, Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand Institute and the New Zealand Aid Programme. The primary aim of this project is securing food, fisheries and a sustainable seafood future in Fiji.