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Scholarships, Suva and Sustainable Fish

Scholarships, Suva and Sustainable Fish

Searing and soaring to success, Fiji chef Avikash Singh continues to live his culinary dream, graduating yesterday from Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand and taking home the celebrated Joie de Vivre award.

Avikash has spent the last few months training at the Wellington campus of the world-renowned culinary school, Le Cordon Bleu, as a 2016 WWF-Pacific Sustainable Seafood Project scholarship winner.

Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand Institute’s General Manager, Jenny Jenkins, said “it was an absolute pleasure having Avikash study with us – his enthusiastic attitude resulted in the Joie de Vivre award given to a student who participates above and beyond”.

The Sustainable Seafood Project is an innovative partnership between WWF-New Zealand, WWF-Pacific, Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand Institute and the New Zealand Aid Programme. The primary aim of this project is securing food, fisheries and a sustainable seafood future in Fiji.

A sous chef at Suva's Grand Pacific Hotel (GPH), 27-year-old Avikash, graduated yesterday with a certificate in Basic Cuisine.

Avikash grew up in Moto, Ba, and was inspired by his father, a popular wedding cook. He began his hospitality journey industry at Smugglers Cove at Wailoaloa, Nadi, and then five years at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa in Natadola. In 2011, Avikash studied for six months at the Australia-Pacific Technical College in Fiji. When the GPH opened in 2014, he joined its culinary team.

“Studying at Le Cordon Bleu was a really awesome opportunity to tune up my skills – learning the right way to prepare French cuisine by going back to basics – and the chance to learn new skills and techniques from leading chefs and lecturers,” Avikash said. “These new ideas and skills will really help my team back home at GPH.”

Avikash is very enthusiastic about incorporating locally-sourced fresh ingredients in his cooking, and advocates the “from sea to plate” approach of seafood.

A favourite seafood dish was his 2011 Silver Award-winning “Seafood Platter” dish which included

kaikoso, fish mousse and crab “using all local seafood, fruit and vegetables”.

“Fish is an easy and fast dish with so many ways to prepare such as sashimi, pan-fried, grilled, smoked and tartare.”

The Sustainable Seafood Project works to build a strong collaboration between local fishing communities and hotels for sustainable inshore fisheries management and seafood supply.

WWF-New Zealand Fiji Project Coordinator Sholto Fanifau said this project was about ensuring that “Fijian people have fish for life”.

“Encouraging and supporting our Fijian fishing communities to better understand their marine resources, harvesting just enough to meet their needs and providing a market that advocates for sustainable sourcing of seafood, will be a huge step to achieving this goal,” Ms Fanifau said.

“Working in partnership with hotels in Fiji and Le Cordon Bleu in NZ is a creative way to encourage other potential markets to source and promote sustainably-caught seafood to their customers, and most importantly to encourage suppliers to move towards sustainably-harvested seafood.

“Having Fijian chefs trained at a prestigious school like Le Cordon Bleu is an added bonus for the project. These chefs are taught how to create recipes using local seafood to meet their clientele demands and in doing so will decrease their reliance on imported seafood.”


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