Q&A with Sita Lavulavu – Tonga Real Pasifik Chef
Tongan Chef Akosita (Sita) Lavulavu works and runs the Tonga National Cultural Centre; www.thekingdomoftonga.com. Sita gives us a quick update on what’s been going on in her life since filming of the Tongan episode wrapped.
So what’s changed Sita? Are you doing anything differently?
I have learned to appreciate authentic, traditional cuisines within Tonga. Since filming the show and working with Robert I have changed the way we do things a lot within our organization, especially when it comes to food and cooking. Although we are always making traditional Tongan cuisines here at the Tonga National Centre, we are working hard to keep it as authentic as possible. For instance we are no longer using plates or cutlery when we have our Buffet dinners, it is now the polata (Banana stock). We avoid using anything imported, we use only local products for the entire presentation of our dishes and the ingredients.
We are really enjoying it, mostly because we are getting great feedback from it all, especially with our catering services. Previously we would usually make the faikakai ngou’a and serve it as it is, now we actually do the whole wrapping thing with the banana leaves like as how we did when filming the show. We enjoy doing this and our customers, both from within Tonga and from abroad, love how we keep it “island styles and very authentic.”
Have you introduced any of your ideas into your menus? Have you managed to put any of the dishes from the Scenic lunch into you menus?
Yes, I have actually introduced my octopus dish to our menu and as it was made in the filming. Everybody that tastes it just adores it. We’re told it’s very tasty and very “IFO” (yummy) as they say.