A cook book was officially launched at the Samoa Stationery and Books on Saturday.
The book is called ‘Kana Vinaka Contemporary Island Cuisine’ by Colin Chung.
Mr. Colin said Kana Vinaka means “Eat well or good food” in Fijian and the book is based on contemporary island cuisine.
Throughout his 40 years teaching and consulting in the islands, Colin has always promoted the use of fresh, local produce and the development of a more contemporary style of cuisine using the outstanding local fruit and vegetables.
Kana Vinaka is a not-for-profit initiative by Colin and a project he has taken on with the hope of providing lasting development for the tourism and hospitality industry in Fiji.
He also wishes to change the way Pacific Islanders eat by promoting healthy, sustainable and lowered dependence on imported food products and promoting the growth and vibrancy of the economy.
“The book is about using local products not just for the industry but for everybody,” said Mr. Colin during his speech.
“All of us can learn and the book is one way for me to say it’s a commitment and it has been a commitment and it took a lot of work.
“As a chef and all the many restaurants that I’ve had and I went through one divorce already and didn’t want to have another one and this was when I still young. I am still married to my wife for 32 years now so I’ve learned because it does take a lot of time.
“And when you are committed and you are passionate about your work that happens and it comes before your family, wife and social commitment and everything just happens because you have a commitment and a passion for it.
“The book added a lot of stress to that and I acknowledge my wife Wanda for putting up with me for all that and for all the support that I got from my friends and a lot of business associates.”
What is it about the book that made you want to publish it?
“I guess it’s the fact that I am getting old and we all do and we want to leave something behind but I’m not saying I’m leaving the book behind but it’s one of those things that you do,” he said.
“You ask yourself here is my life was it worth it you had some restaurants, you had a beautiful family, you made some money and then you think well, is there any legacy will anyone remember you after you die?
“It’s not really that reason but it is good to believe in something and then do something about it and that is what I am talking about.
“And the book is that commitment I mean if had a little more time, a little more money I probably would have done more to it but you’ve sort of got to draw a line at the end and say this is it.
“We had a commitment and we had some good supporters after two-three years of trying to raise support for the book I used a lot of my own money and a lot of my company’s money and then it was like well, we are not going to make it because I just don’t have enough money to do it.
“But then when we got the support of the ministry who paid for the printing of it and then it was a commitment we had to finish it on time because they told us we had.
“So, although there was a lot more that I could’ve put it in the book and there was a lot more that I wanted to put in the book, it is what it is.”
What is the commitment?
“I think Samoa is no different from all other islands in the South Pacific, we all have this problem that we come of age and when I say age I mean western civilization taking over as we become westernized we tend to want to eat more western food,” Mr. Colin said.
“It’s easily available and easy to use and although it’s more expensive unfortunately it is tasty too.
“Like some or most of us like French fries but we can make our own French fries out of our own taro and it’s 1/5th cheaper than making or buying French fries from New Zealand and Australia.
“One of the problems of eating local meals is you tend to eat the same local produce every day and after a while it becomes boring.
“And that is what the book is all about, it will show you that there are other ways to eat the local food.”
‘Kana Vinaka’ is available at the Samoa Stationery and Books for $85.
The author said $10 of every purchase of the book would go to the Samoa Culinary Association.