Cooking up a storm

Cooking up a storm

FIJI TIMES 19 Feb 2020 – TODAY, travelling for food has taken an entirely new meaning. It is different from drawn out marine voyages to access dried food, seedlings and spices from other parts of the globe in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Food is an important component of tourism and significant in attracting the interest of people who travel to our shores.

Our traditional food and cuisine promotes Fiji as a culinary tourism destination and enhances the travel experience of hotel guests because food acts both as an entertainment and cultural activity.

That is why Koro Sun Resort and Rainforest Spa head chef Tom Jocksam Tam is literally on top of each meal’s menu and makes sure that local foods are featured prominently.

“At the resort, we believe in having as many organic and local fruits and vegetables as possible in the different dishes we prepare for our guests,” said Tam.

“This not only helps in promoting a unique and memorable drinking and eating experience, it also adds to our guests’ understanding and appreciation of our culture.”

As a head chef, Tam is the person responsible for everything that goes on in the kitchen.

He not only oversees all dishes from start to finish, he also ensures that his team meets health and safety standards and come up with creative recipes for the restaurant.

One of his side jobs is mentoring junior chefs as well as training auxiliary kitchen staff, who not only look up to him but aspire to be at the helm of kitchen leadership one day.

Tam works with a young team and gets great deputising support from his assistant.

He believes team work is one of the vital attributes that a successful, effective and excellent restaurant depends on.

“Guests don’t normally see kitchen staff. We work behind the scene, but are equally vital in creating that authentically Fijian experience for guests.”

“I believe in my team and I want them to excel and grow professionally so that they become great chefs one day.”

Tam, who already has plans to start up his own restaurant in future, believes a chef’s work is rewarding and exciting.

“If you love to cook, love to meet challenges and take on responsibilities, if you enjoy being creative, then working as a chef is the right field for you.”

It’s rewarding and a job that you won’t regret.”