Fiji hotel trends 2019: Farm (and sea) to plate

Luxury resorts have embraced more sustainable approaches to F&B

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Fiji’s gourmet experience is moving in leaps and bounds, backed by the formation recently of the Culinary Federation of Fiji. The non-profit organisation was formed in late 2018, and is a collaboration of executive chefs from Fiji’s leading resorts, cafes and restaurants. Its purpose is to develop Fiji’s cuisine offering through workshops, culinary classes, a traineeship program and the establishment of a national restaurant awards initiative – the Masi Star Awards.

Many hotels around Fiji are adopting a new farm-to-plate experience, creating on-site vegetable and herb gardens for a more sustainable approach to F&B, hospitality and service for their guests. Being an archipelago of 333 islands, importing produce to Fiji can be expensive and time-consuming, but with so much lush tropical landscape in abundance, hotels are now capitalising on what Fiji naturally offers.

In addition, resorts are working to provide guests with healthier home-cooked options in Fiji using fresh local produce, allowing resorts to be self-sufficient.

Nanuku Auberge Resort sits on 220 hectares of land on the Pacific Harbour coast with its own beach and an additional private island for glamping and tailored experiences:

  • Fruit, vegetables and herbs are grown on-site
  • Honey is harvested on-site as the resort has its own beehives
  • An on-site chicken enclosure provides fresh eggs for guests’ breakfasts
  • Guests can accompany Nanuku tour guides to learn how to search for mud crabs, catch local freshwater prawns and how to make lolo (coconut milk)
  • Offers guests spear-fishing (and resort staff will cook what they catch)
  • On-site rice paddy
  • Seagrape farm is in progress (this is a project that the on-site marine scientist is working on)
  • Nanuku has launched its own beer, and is working on its own Fijian rum for guests.
  • In Q4 the resort will have its own in-house medicine man and botanist to create superfood drinks/meals for guests.

Kokomo Private Island Resort is in the Kadavu Group and offers luxury and privacy with villas and residences:

  • 2.2-hectare farm with fruits, vegetables and herbs
  • 170 free-range chickens
  • Full-time farmers
  • Honey is harvested on-site with their own beehives
  • Guests’ and kids’ club activities include farming and planting of vegetables, collecting own eggs for breakfast
  • Walker D’Plank restaurant is menu-free: guests advise staff what they feel like on the day, and chef will create something based on seasonal produce and catch of the day
  • Fishing activities offered to guests and hotel will cook what guests catch

Likuliku Lagoon Resort is an adults-only resort in the Mamanucas and offers:

  • On-site herb, vegetable and fruit garden
  • On-site beehives for honey
  • Daily changing menu based on seasonality and daily catch from the local fishermen
  • Full-time gardener
  • Medicinal walks as a guest activity to understand the superfoods and plants on the island – these are incorporated into menus where possible
  • Fishing experiences for guests – will catch and cook (however will always return marlin or sailfish back to the ocean as part of its sustainability program)

The Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa offers a weekly Farm to Fork tour:

  • The Farm to Fork Tour and Lunch showcases the hotel’s commitment to helping guests eat well.
  • The tour is available for guests to book every Saturday (FJ$59pp) and includes a tour of the property’s farm and a lunch with the hotel’s executive chef.
  • It celebrates ‘Fiji’s own’ with home-grown organic fruits, vegetables and herbs that are incorporated into the SuperfoodsRX menus at The Westin’s Kitchen Grill.
  • This is a real success story for the Westin Fiji: 10 years ago, 80% of the food was imported. Now, it only imports about 25%, with the rest being from its own farm and carefully selected local producers.

Six Senses Fiji offers a new focus on wellness for the destination:

  • Growing on-site organic farm and herb, vegetable, fruit garden
  • The resort collects rain water, uses worm-based septic tanks and also has its own reverse osmosis plant and water refinery, producing high-quality drinking water without the use of plastic bottles – so all guests are served daily filtered water in glass bottles
  • All tonics, bitters and kombucha is made on-site (no synthetic tonics or bitters are served at the bar)
  • Living Cocktail is one of its signature drinks, alcoholic but with all home-made, non-synthetic, fermented ingredients for healthier cocktails
  • Menus change daily depending on the local catch of the day from local fisherman
  • Offers guests an alchemy bar experience to learn to make their own face masks and scrubs from natural materials
  • Fishing experiences can be offered with catch and cook experience

Laucala Island Resort

This luxury property in the northern islands has a commitment to sustainability with around 85% of the food produced on the island, and local seafood caught daily in the waters surrounding Laucala. There is a 240-acre farm onsite, growing a number of varieties of mango and tomatoes and orchards of avocado, papaya and passion fruit. The property also makes its own honey, tamarind jam, and lemongrass candles; raises pigs, quail and ducks and has its own herd of Wagyu cattle; it even grows its own orchids for the guest rooms.

Malamala Beach Club – Chef Lance Seeto, official culinary ambassador for Fiji, is passionate about the food he cooks, using Fijian flavours with fusion dishes, while also serving a modern take on Fijian classics. He makes everything from scratch, with no packet products; even the tomato sauce is home-made. Samosas are made fresh by a local villager daily, and Lance physically catches the goats for his signature goat pie.

Namale Resort & Spa – Situated in Savusavu on Vanua Levu, the hotel has three fruit and vegetable gardens, with a herb garden and daily catch from the local fisherman.

Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort – Located on Vanua Levu, the resort focuses on sustainability and eco-friendly activities. Executive Chef Raymond Lee sources fresh, seasonal ingredients from the local area and other regions of Fiji as well as growing herbs, fruits, vegetables and edible flowers in his organic garden on the resort’s grounds.

Lead image: Kokomo Private Island Resort – Farm

 

Learn more about Fiji and become a Matai Specialist through Tourism Fiji’s online training course. For all the details, go to matai.fiji.travel

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