Robert Oliver and Me’a Kai
Robert Oliver is a New Zealand chef who was raised in Fiji and Samoa. His career has covered the full spectrum of being a chef. He has developed restaurants in New York, Miami, Las Vegas and Sydney, ‘farm to table” resorts in the Caribbean, food programs feeding homeless people and African immigrants with AIDS in New York City. Within his restaurant career, he opened the US’s largest restaurant, rumjungle, in Las Vegas and was executive chef/co-owner of SUVA Restaurant in Miami with Hollywood actress Marisa Tomei.
In 2008, Robert stepped out of his professional life and returned to the South Pacific to write his first book, Me’a Kai: The Food and Flavours of the South Pacific. (Random House, April 2010) Written with a mission to connect Pacific agriculture to the region’s tourism sector, Me’a Kai stunned the food world by winning the top prize of “Best Cookbook in the World 2010″ at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Paris, considered to be the “Pulitzer” of cookbooks, beating the books from NOMA and the New York Times.
Catch up with Robert in Paris receiving his award in Paris for Me’a Kai, Written with co-author Dr Tracy Berno and photographer Shiri Ram, it profiles the traditional foods and food culture of Fiji, Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands, and includes dishes from the “modern” Pacific.