The impressive collaboration between Vanuatu’s Leo Vusilai of Sanma Agri-Food Trade Association (SAFTA) and K2’s Head Chef Kandy Tamagushiku will provide an all local catering team set to deliver award winning Pacific Island Cuisine for the Sustainable Islands Tourism Conference delegates in Santo later this month.
These caterers who are supported by Vanuatu Skills Partnership’s Farm to Table program, are passionate about working with local farmers. This means using local crops and produce to form the basis of all the meals. By doing so income earned from tourism is directed into local communities, while also minimizing imports and plastic packaging of food.
“We have been impressed by the Santo produce and know how great the local supply is,” says Kandy. Not only will the food be local, so will the staff with the hiring of hospitality staff from Santo to encourage skills transfer to local Ni Vanuatu.
The menu which is a contemporary approach to Pacific Island Cuisine using local ingredients, is set to cater for the over 130 delegates many of whom will be traveling from the Pacific islands, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Caribbean and Europe. The conference attendees will be experts in the field of sustainable tourism and Government officials from the Pacific including Palau, Hawaii, Cook Islands, and French Polynesia.
The Department of Tourism who are behind the Sustainable Islands Tourism Conference are assured that the team will provide meals that are memorable and representative of the Pacific.
“We’re all set to do Vanuatu proud,” says Leo Vusilai who is one of the team of 2 chefs from Vanuatu who won first place in the recent televised Pacific Island Food Revolution cooking competition in which our local entrepreneur Votausi McKenzie owner of Lapita Café judged the event.
Strengthening linkages between the tourism industry and agriculture is one of the many objectives of the Vanuatu Sustainable Tourism Policy (2019-2030) and is also the key focus of the Pacific Agricultural Research for Development Initiative (PARDI 2) project funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) who are one of the key sponsors of the Sustainable Islands Tourism Conference.
The Director of Tourism Mr Jerry Spooner emphasises how important it is for Government to lead by example in creating more opportunities for Ni Vanuatu, improving livelihoods and protecting our cultural and environmental resources, “we as Government have a responsibility to safeguard the future of our people”.