The Pacific needs a revolution; one that shines a light on the value of traditional diets and inspires individuals and households to take pride in their cultural foods.
Pacific Island Food Revolution (PIFR), a reality cooking competition will be brought to television in Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu to promote healthy eating habits and reclaim Pacific original cuisine diets.
At its core, PIFR believes that the solution to the region’s health crisis already exists in each country’s traditional diets. The dynamic programme uses the power of TV, new media and digital storytelling to expose local cuisine to the Pacific people and the world.
PIFR offers journalists, producers and photographers behind-the-scenes insights, practical skills and strategies used by the revolution to reach its audience.
It focusses mostly on getting youth who seem to prefer the creativity of digital media into the habit of preserving traditional food knowledge.
Similar to ‘My Kitchen Rules’, the show will shine a spotlight on the Pacific people leading the way with their ancient and innovative food knowledge, a wealth of fresh organic ingredients sourced from local farms and all in front of TV cameras.
Using a challenge but entertaining style, the show is full of talents.
The revolution also intends to promote local cuisines as tourist attraction. Promoting a destination’s food is link to environment, farmers, markets, restaurants and customers.
World-renowned Chef, Robert Oliver, who is leading the revolution said “When I first came to Vanuatu I felt like it’s God’s place. Vanuatu is a Garden of Eden.
“Many people do not see cuisine as a whole system. It connects with agriculture sector, tourism and health in the sense that it will stimulate demand for nutritious food.
“One of the things that tourists are interested to try out when traveling to other places is local food. But local restaurants and hotels tend to have only international cuisines. If we do that, we are cutting off our farmers.
“Local cuisine requires agriculture.
“The reality show will return pride to the healthy food that makes up the traditional diet of the Pacific.”
The challenge is about changing the mindset of the people about what kind of food they eat.
“The South Pacific is in a crisis,” said Chef Oliver.
“The health crisis numbers are terrible. Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) are decimating Pacific Island populations due to poor food choices.
“These foods- sugary drinks, instant noodles and more are replacing traditional diets, causing devastating levels of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and heartbreak. Where once Pacific Island populations used healthy, traditional foods to create their diet, a mindset of overseas food being better has all but eliminated them from today’s diets,” he stressed.
Votausi Mckenzie who is featured in the reality show as the ‘Queen of Vanuatu Cuisine’ has a passion of keeping Vanuatu culture and cuisine alive for future generation.
PIFR is a positive platform to learn from each other our traditional food values, methods of cooking and how we can embrace these values in this modern age, she said.
“It gives us a sense of cultural identity,” she added.
One of the contestants for the reality show first series, Chef Leonid Vusilai, said the show will take Vanuatu cuisine to another level and will highlight the bold talents of local chefs to the rest of the world.
“It is a challenge to be creative with local dishes, to represent Vanuatu to the world is also a challenge but most importantly, it is also a great honour.”
“The cure of NCD lies within our local cuisine, not in medications,” he added.
Through showcasing these initiatives under a holistic cultural narrative and creating a movement, PIFR will create a joyful celebration of the Pacific.
Supplementing the television aspect of the innovation will be a foundation to support the future development and strengthening of the movement, not just in the Pacific but with Indigenous populations across the world.
SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST