Robert Oliver on Lady Sunday Club’s Kitchen Confessional


Robert Oliver, editor of Eat Pacific: The Pacific Island Food Revolution cookbook, answers some questions and supplies a tasty recipe for Lady Sunday Club’s Kitchen Confessional:

1. Who taught you to cook, and what’s the first thing you learnt to cook?

It really it was moving to Fiji that made me come alive in the food sense. The market in Suva, the exposure to dynamic Fijian cuisine, and my Mum’s experiments in our Suva home with local crops and dishes.

2. Name one of your most treasured food memories growing up in the Islands.

I really loved Indian weddings and Fijian “ magiti” or feasts. But once again I circle back to the market in Suva as the hotbed of community, food and gossip. It is one of the world's best working food markets and anyone visiting Fiji should plan to go to Suva to go there.

3. What prompted you to become a voice for the people and food of the South Pacific?

I don’t think I am. My aim is to create a platform for Pacific food voices and stories- not be one myself. My books and TV are filled with Pacific people with the real food stories. Part of my original motivation was to showcase the cuisines of the various islands in an effort to embed them into the tourism industry.

4. What is the biggest challenge facing our island neighbours and their foodsystems?

There are challenges with the domination of Western style foods and food imports- but there is great hope. The original Pacific food system, We don’t need to invent anything. Rather to restore and revamp -for the modern era- the local food systems that served Pacific Islanders well for thousands of years.

5. Can we cook South Pacific cuisine in our home kitchens?

Absolutely- there are a few ingredients you can’t get- such as nama/ limu seaweed, but you can substitute with a Japanese seaweed.’

Read the rest of the piece here